A Part of the Main – Philip Gross and Lesley Saunders – poetry to give perspective in troublesome times

NEW:   A Part of the Main  is now available, a truly beautiful thing, published by Mulfran Press. It comes with a handsome and thoughtful design by Valerie Coffin Price to frame and support the text.

All the quandaries and challenges that sparked the exchange of poems between the two poets are still with us, even more so now, as it appears in print.

Poetry responding to a crisis…

Extracts from emails, during the political upheavals of 2016–17, with the referendum, the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and the polarisation of discussion all around the world:

..... ‘The events of recent months have left me stunned, shocked and bewildered; underneath the rage and disappointment I think I’m heartbroken. I feel the need to remake, reconceive, re-vision, the idea of who ‘we’ are. And to do that with a sense of some kind of community, needing imagination and a commitment to thinking-feeling more generously than presently seems possible, perhaps.’ (Lesley to Philip, 2016)
..... ‘I’ve watched my friends, and myself, going through all the classic stages of mourning – anger, denial, bargaining, depression, relative acceptance – in overlapping waves. The thing is to notice what we feel is being taken from us and set about rebuilding it. My instinct is for a conversation where the utterances are quick and open-ended, with quiet spaces for reflection in between. Nothing must aim to be the final word.’ (Philip to Lesley, 2016)

Poetry in conversation
A Part of the Main grew from that exchange. Over three or four months in vivid, exploratory verses shuttled back and forth. Trusting to the improvisatory flow, the sequence moves in swerves and echoes, far beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language. In a time of soundbites and binary rhetoric, it gives the pressing questions about individual and national identity more breathing-space, more heart- and head-room. In the words of a reviewer, ‘this poetic voyage feels irresistible, urgent and unrelenting in the best sense.’

A three-way collaboration
The book is designed by artist Valerie Coffin Price, whose own work explores all kinds of connection between people, landscape and ideas. In addition to the standard book, a few copies remain of the pre-publication limited edition of 50 containing additional material by the artist and the poets in loose-leaf form.

For more details about the book, the special edition, or to request a review copy, please contact Leona Medlin of Mulfran Press    leona@mulfran.co.uk

For interviews and possible performances, contact
Lesley Saunders  lesley574@btinternet.com and/or Philip Gross contact@philipgross.co.uk

Published: 27 August, 2018