Please join us to celebrate the launch of Judith Willson’s new poetry collection, Fleet. Hosting the reading will be fellow Carcanet poet Helen Tookey. The event will feature readings and discussions, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. We will also be showing extracts of the text during the reading so that you can read along.
In 1878, in London, a woman served a prison sentence for deserting two of her children, a charge she denied. Almost nothing else is known of her life or that of her husband, a dealer in ‘foreign birds and curiosities’, who was himself a migrant. The two children vanished from the record.
This is where Fleet begins, with elusive histories and lost voices. The title suggests imperial power, conquest, traffic in commodities (which in the nineteenth century included vast numbers of exotic birds). It is shadowed by other meanings: the fleeting glimpse and swift flight; floating memories, enigmatic and insistent.
Judith Willson’s second book of poems was written during years when migration and displacement have become central facts of the human condition. The collection works outwards from found text ‒ historical documents, archive materials ‒ into other places and times. In the silences of such records, their erasures and omissions, are stories that haunt our present.
‘Judith Willson’s poetry takes us, in a dazzling flow of images, to lives which have the solidity of Central European fairytale with all the frightening reality of history behind them. It is richly inventive in form and precise in tone.’ – Elaine Feinstein, on Crossing the Mirror Line (2017)
Registration for this online event will cost £2, later redeemable against the cost of the book. All attendees will receive the discount code and how to purchase the book during and after event.