Whipple Museum Poetry Reading on 26 July

Caroline Herschel's sweeper. Photo Credit: Science Museum, London.

I’m delighted to promote a poetry reading at The Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge, where I am writer-in-residence. The reading is at 3pm on Tuesday 26th July, free, and open to the public – please join us if you’re in the area! Phone ahead to book a (free) space: 012 2333 0906; ask for the Whipple Museum.

Some time ago, Lesley Saunders contacted me, sharing poems she’d written which were inspired by objects in the Whipple Museum. It was a fun surprise to realise we’d both been writing about Caroline Herschel – Lesley, through poems, and me, with my novel.

Lesley is an extremely talented, widely published poet. Her publications include The Dark Larder (Corridor Press, 1997); Christina the Astonishing, co-authored with Jane Draycott and illustrated by Peter Hay (Two Rivers Press, 1998); Her Leafy Eye, with images by Geoff Carr (Two Rivers Press, 2009); No Doves (Mulfran Press, 2010);  and a pamphlet Some Languages Are Hard to Dream In, with images by Christopher Hedley-Dent (also Mulfran Press, 2010). She has won several awards, including joint first prize for a portfolio of poems in the 2008 Manchester Poetry Competition.

Much of Lesley’s recent work is inspired by specific places and associations: Her Leafy Eye was set in the 18th century landscaped gardens at Rousham in north Oxfordshire;  and in 2009 Lesley was visiting scholar and poet-in-residence at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, creating a poetry project around the college gardens.  Last year she had a residency at Acton Court, an atmospheric Tudor house and gardens near Bristol that was built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn; now she is working on a collection of poems with scientific and medical connotations, sparked off by a visit to the Whipple Museum last autumn.

If familiar with my work, you’ll see that Lesley and I are indeed kindred spirits! Her Whipple-inspired poems epitomize the inspiration which can be gained from science, revealing the art in the material.

Lesley and I will each read from new work and talk about just what scientific forms our muses take.