Poet launches latest work

Heyshott poet James Simpson will give a West Sussex launch to his latest work at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery tonight Thursday, February 16 at 6pm.

James will be joined by artist and printmaker Carolyn Trant with whom the book The Untenanted Room is a creative collaboration.

Their talk will be followed by a book-signing in the Pallant Bookshop. Tickets £7.50 (£6.50 students, £6 Friends) on 01243 774557 (info@pallant.org.uk).

“Carolyn and I have been working together for the last several years,” said James. “Initially we did a book called Hunting The Wren. The Untenanted Room is the most recent one.

“It’s a book-length poem. It’s quite hard to explain what it is, but in a way it is a lament or can be read as a lament or as a journey of the soul. There are a series of voices that feature within the poem. It talks about our relationship with the landscape and with the natural world and about our relationship with ourselves. You could read it as an environmental poem, but it is not that literal.

“It is almost a dreamscape. One of the reasons why I wrote it is not that I wanted it to explain itself. One of the things that I am concerned about is the predominance of the reductive and analytic mind. The way I use images, I want the images to speak for themselves and work within the realm of the imaginative rather than appealing to the conscious mind.”

James has previously launched the book in Cheltenham, Exeter and in East Sussex. The Chichester event is his first for the book on his home patch.

Hunting The Wren was published by Parvenu/Actaeon Press. James recently won second prize in the Thomas Hardy Society’s James Gibson Memorial Poetry Competition and has been anthologised in Our Common Ground (Silverdart Publishing), a collection of poems celebrating farming and the countryside. He has always lived in the South Downs and his work is deeply rooted in the area.

Carolyn Trant is an artist whose medium is artists books, taking a fresh look at myths and stories from popular culture, using her own texts or in collaboration with poets, including David Harsent, Judith Kazantzis, Nicki Jackowska and James Simpson. Her work is in private and public collections across Europe and the USA, including the British Library, Tate and V&A.