On Saturday 23rd October 2021 author Catherine Swire joined The Artel Press and friends at a packed reading in Ledbury for the launch of her debut poetry collection Soil.
Soil is published this month by The Artel Press. Her debut title takes the form of eight walks across the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border, using sites as diverse as a former WWII decoding station and the ancient British Camp hillfort, to explore how landscape embeds the effects of historic trauma.
Catherine read two poems from her new book: Listening Station and Returning to the Chained Library, together with an exquisite reading in Middle English from Piers Plowman (Langland).
In conversation with John Elcock of The Artel Press, Catherine outlined the significance of Langland’s allegorical view of the Malvern landscape and offering eloquent testimony to how the work of poetry occupies the boundary between silence and speech.
Catherine was joined by the artists Marina Kolchanova, who illustrated the book, and Bridget Macdonald – whose beautiful drawing of Eastnor Obelisk, one of the sites featured in the book, is currently on display in the venue. Both gave generous and fascinating accounts of the impact of Catherine’s writing on their work.
The event was hosted at The Barrett Browning Institute, home of Ledbury Poetry Festival, the UK’s largest and longest-running poetry festival.
Warm thanks to Chloe Garner for introducing the event, Malvern Cellar for providing excellent local refreshments, and to everyone who contributed towards making the event such a success.
Soil RRP £10 available from local booksellers and our online shop.