Join us in welcoming to Edinburgh three fresh and exceptionally talented international poets, Lily Blacksell, Mary Jean Chan, and Patrick James Errington, as they read from their debut pamphlets, There’s No Such Thing, A Hurry of English, and Glean.
Sometimes startling, sometimes meditative, but always exquisitely articulated, these exciting new collections consider subjects as various as the prairies of Alberta in Canada, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and a clifftop gallop on the Isle of Wight. Having been shortlisted for or won major poetry prizes, including the Forward Prize and The National Poetry Competition, these writers are already establishing themselves as significant stars on the UK poetry scene.
Blacksell’s There Is No Such Thing, Chan’s A Hurry of English, and Errington’s Glean not only represent the arrival of three exciting voices, but also the launch of ignitionpress, a new poetry pamphlet press from the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre that recognises and supports outstanding poets from across the world. https://www.brookes.ac.uk/poetry-centre/ignition-press/.
The event will consist of a reading by all three poets followed by a short Q&A chaired by ignitionpress Managing Editor, Les Robinson, who has been an instrumental figure in the launching the careers of many leading UK poets, including Helen Mort, Emily Berry, Sarah Howe, Adam O’Riordan, and Liz Berry.
Lily Blacksell grew up in London and the Isle of Wight. She studied at the University of Birmingham before undertaking an MFA in poetry at Columbia University where she was also a Teaching Fellow. Lily has performed in venues around the US and the UK and was nominated in 2017 for the Best New Poets (United States and Canada) and The Pushcart Prize. She has written for the Boston Review, Sabotage and Prac Crit.
‘Lily Blacksell’s poems are clever, urgent and deeply felt. That’s all I ever ask for from poetry, my own as well as others, and it’s a lot. Her work is as keenly attuned to the imagination with an intuition of the askew, as it is to our capacity for suffering and for joy. Poetry with as much soul as wit. In this form where a lot leaves you completely cold, this belongs firmly in the three percent I’d die for.’ – Luke Kennard
Mary Jean Chan is a poet, editor and academic from Hong Kong. Her work has been widely published in journals and magazines including Ambit, PN Review, The Poetry Review and The Rialto. Her poem ‘//’ was shortlisted for the 2017 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She is currently a Research Associate at the Royal Holloway Poetics Research Centre, and is a co-editor of Oxford Poetry.
Sparkling and vulnerable, A Hurry of English marks the arrival of an essential new voice. Navigating tangled histories at once personal and postcolonial, Mary Jean Chan sounds fresh notes “in a language [she] never chose”. These poems bring to life a story of queer awakening, transit between cultures, and a mother’s terrifying love shaped by the legacy of political turmoil in twentieth-century China. Hovering between tongues, what Chan’s work offers us is “never an apology / but always / an act of faith” – Sarah Howe
Poems by Patrick James Errington appear in magazines and anthologies such as Best New Poets, The Cincinnati Review, Boston Review, The Iowa Review, and Oxford Poetry, and have won or been commended for numerous prizes including The London Magazine, the Wigtown, the Flambard, and The National Poetry Competititions. His French translation of PJ Harvey’s poetry collection, The Hollow of the Hand (Éditions l’Âge d’Homme), was released in 2017. Patrick currently lives in Scotland.
‘No doubt about it – not only is Patrick James Errington a real find, the scope of his imagination, combined with psychological integrity and linguistic rigour, mark him out as a poet I’ll return to again and again. He has the strength of will to put the poem first: no stock effects, just a highly tuned poetic mind interrogating its world for the mystery, the roots of pain and the wonder.’ – John Burnside