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Creative writers at Feaver Pitch as top poet visits University

Vicki Feaver

POETRY lovers are in for a treat on Wednesday 18 March when one of Britain’s top poets visits the University to give a guest reading from her renowned work.

Vicki Feaver is Chichester’s Emerita Professor of Poetry, having worked at the University for many years as an inspiring tutor in the Department of English & Creative Writing.

Now Vicki returns to West Sussex from her home in the Scottish Borders to read from her three acclaimed collections: Close Relatives (1981), The Handless Maiden (Forward Prize shortlisted, 1994), The Book of Blood (Forward Prize and Costa Award shortlisted, 2006).

Vicki’s reading will take place at 6:30pm in Room E124, and is free to enter for all students, staff, and members of the public.

In this rare venture south of the Borders, Vicki will discuss the creative process that generates her work to pass on valuable tips about the writing life and, as former students will know, her insights are always worth hearing.

She said: “In a good poem the poet disappears. That's what the struggle with language is all about. The point is that in the finished poem you don't lay yourself bare. You create a strongbox of words.”

“I edit and cut if I think something doesn’t work. But my poems never come in great bursts. They’re always built up really, really slowly. It’s almost as if the process of writing the poem is an act of discovery, you put into poems what you didn’t know you knew.”

To hear samples of Vicki’s work visit her poetry archives by either clicking here or here.

For a flavour of what to expect, it is also worth hearing what The Guardian’s poetry critic had to say about ‘The Book of Blood’.

“The labour that has gone into this collection expresses itself as close work, visible in the lacy connections that weave across the surfaces of the poems, in the housekeeperly attention to technique that sees enjambment, internal rhyme and assonance sending ripples of meaning back and forth along the lines.

“The combination of technical dexterity, earthy subject matter (a zesty mix of the female, the familial and the mythic) and landscapes alive with flora and fauna alert us to the fact that, after a long absence, we are firmly in Feaver country once more.”

Or, as magazine Magma put it: “An emotionally frank and powerful writer, Vicki Feaver confesses that in her earlier poems she repressed her stronger feelings, but reformed after overhearing Arvon course students call her “such a nice woman”. Her poems now celebrate extremes of femininity from sensuality to violence - Vicki Feaver women are capable of both nurturing and murdering. But as Matthew Sweeney says of her, she somehow manages to write women’s poems that don’t shut out men.”

Image by Caroline Forbes