Bold Poetics from Holly Corfield Carr

Performing at our festival this year is poet Holly Corfield Carr, a major young poet from Bristol.

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Her diverse body of work, which is largely based in Bristol and Cambridge, has been widely critically acclaimed, being the recipient of the both the 2012 Eric Gregory Award and the 2015 Frieze Writer’s Prize.

Currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Cambridge on site-specific writing practises in contemporary British poetry, Carr is a writer whose work is rooted in place and environment. She describes that ‘writing poems for particular places might change the way we write, but finding places to write particular poems changes the way we move through the world’, highlighting the importance she puts on the idea of place in poetry.  

Carr has produced works of poetry for a number of locations around the UK, including in an eighteenth-century crystal grotto in central Bristol, a floating island on the Bristol Channel, and on the River Avon by Bristol Temple Meads Station. Carr is currently working with Falmouth University and the National Trust to produce a book of poems inspired by East Soar in Devon, and has worked as writer-in-residence for a number of organisations, including the Bristol Poetry Institute and the Wordsworth Trust.

As a poet, Carr uses clear, bold imagery in her descriptions of place, bringing her sites alive through vivid use of personification. This is evident in Aft, her poem commissioned by Spike Island for Bristol’s last shantyman, Stanley Slade, which tells the journey of a sightseeing trip with the ferryman. She breathes life into the environment surrounding the ferry, describing the ocean as ‘applauding the hull’ of a ferry ‘as if the surface waves are trying to spell a word in the bright ess ess ess o! Ess ess o! Esses of light!’   

Holly will be leading the Poetry and Illustration workshop with Dr Rose Ferraby, where they will be combining writing with illustration to produce works based off of stones. She will also be conducting a reading with fellow poet Elisabeth Sennitt Clough as part of our paired poetry reading events.

by Seren Livie