'Only the core of her left –
a memory of being whole.
I keep her upon my bookshelf,
hold her neat within my hand,
reminded of the life in stone.'
Jo Reed's encounter with the original 'Stone Venus', entangled amongst seaweed on a Corfu beach, was the source of much inspiration, creativity and comfort to the lifelong artist. Now, it has become the seed of her first collection of poetry; a collection you could soon be holding in your outstretched hand, much like Jo held 'Venus' herself on that cold morning.
The poet demonstrates a fascination with objects - as well as people, memories and places - throughout this moving, delicately-crafted debut, which inhabits them, transports them to decades past, then brings them back into the present with a series of skillful literary flourishes. This is writing to touch, inspire and astonish any reader - even those made of stone.
"Poems which show due care for the reader, often capable of a startling justness of phrase or rhythm...an attentiveness to both art and experience."
"Even if I didn’t know, I’d be able to tell the poems were written by a visual artist; like a stained glass with each bit showing a different part of [Jo's] life. Lovely."
If she had known she would sleep alone
in her borrowed marriage bed,
she’d have packed that life in a suitcase,
she’d have hitch-hiked to Brighton instead.
Jo Reed was born near Durham in 1941. She spent her childhood moving up and down the East Coast, from Northumbria to Norfolk, before arriving in Soho, London in the 1960s. She later lived in rural Surrey and Lincolnshire, before settling in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, at the turn of the century. She has worked as an illustrator, printmaker and teacher, and has had her art exhibited widely in one-woman shows from Athens to Buenos Aires, as well as in London.