Women of the World Cambridge, Cambridge Literary Festival, and Carcanet press have joined forces to present Poetry of Women at the Cambridge Junction on March 3rd. The showcase highlights six of the most distinct and distinguished voices performing diverse poetry: Sinéad Morissey, Elaine Feinstein, Vahni Capildeo, Karen McCarthy Wolf, Jane Yeh and Caroline Bird. The Cambridge Literary Festival is due to take place in 5-14 April 2016. With anticipated highlights such as Akala, founder of the Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, and award winning poet, rapper, and playwright Kate Tempest. It’s shaping up as a week not to miss.

Sinéad Morrissey is a former Belfast Poet Laureate and T.S Eliot Prize winner for her intensely visual collection Parallax. In Parallax Sinéad Morrissey documents the paradox of what is seen, read and misread, playing visually on the phantasmagoric, differing appearance of object position through a lens. Multiple senses of the word ‘Parallax’ are touched on throughout the book in photographs, politics and philosophy as well as in Morrissey’s assured and disquieting writing and from her use of space in a written canvas.

?Elaine Feinstein is an award-winning poet, novelist, translator and biographer. She has received a multitude of prizes, including a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry Society of Authors’, Wingate and Arts Council Awards, and the Daisy Miller Prize for her experimental novel The Circle. The author describes The Circle as a marriage told in fragmented memory, with accounts of painful betrayal, embedded like shrapnel. Feinstein was awarded a major grant from the Arts Council to write her most recent novel, The Russian Jerusalem, a blend of prose and poetry, inventively combining fiction, memoir, history and autobiography. She has served on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, of which she is a Fellow, as a judge for most of the current literary prizes, and as Chair of the Judges for the T.S. Eliot Award.

Vahni Capildeo, an extremely talented Trinidadian writer, has published five collections of poems including; Undraining Sea, Dark & Unaccustomed Words, and Utter as well as the recently launched Measures of Expatriation in February 2016. She is a PBS Choice author and 2016 T.S. Eliot prize nominee for Measures of Expatriation. The collection of poetry and prose-poetry is subdivided into seven sections, each, which she has coined a “measure.” The collection puts forward the questioning of belonging: “Expatriate / Exile / Migrant / Refugee” through the suggestion that words are fluid, like individual identities, exceeding a definition. Measures of Expatriation is at the forefront of literature arising from the aftermath of colonialism, with a fearless and candid natural complexity.

Karen McCarthy Woolf was born in London to an English mother and a Jamaican father.
Her book The Worshipful Company of Pomegranate Slicers was a New Statesman book of the year and An Aviary of Small Birds received a PBS pamphlet recommendation. An Aviary of Small Birds is a collection of powerful emotion; the beauty with pain, centred on the stillbirth of her child, Otto. She is the recipient of the Kate Betts Memorial Prize and an Arts and Humanities Research Council scholarship from Royal Holloway, where she studying her PhD.

Jane Yeh was born in America and studied at Harvard University. In 2014 she was noted as a PBS Next Generation poet. This achievement is awarded every decade to poets that the Poetry Book Society believes will “dominate the landscape” in the next decade. Her first complete collection, Marabou, was shortlisted for the Whitbread, Forward, and Aldeburgh Festival poetry prizes. She has also published a chapbook Teen Spies and an acclaimed second poetry collection The Ninjas. Influences from Yeh’s university life reading social, cultural and art history pour through on her work with unexpected juxtaposition, anachronism and charmingly clever observations. She has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a residency at artist community Yaddo.

Caroline Bird has won a major Eric Gregory Award, twice winner of Foyles Young Poet of the Year Award and was short-listed for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes, was published when she was just fifteen. She was short-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize for her second and third collections, Trouble Came To The Turnip, and Watering Can, and was the youngest writer on the list. Watering Can achieved a ‘Poetry Book Society Recommendation.’ Her poem The Fun Palace has been erected outside the Olympic stadium in London, as she was one of five official poets at London Olympics 2012 and her fourth poetry collection, The Hat-stand Union was published in 2012. Her work is an engaging collection of poetic fables, irony, fantasy romance and satire.

POW: Poetry of Women is at the Cambridge Junction on March 3rd, info and tickets here
Words by Jess Bartlet