Responding: Two Poems by Linda Anderson  by Clare A. Lees

Responding: Two Poems by Linda Anderson

by Clare A. Lees

Inside Writing starts outside. In a garden where a woman reads from a book. She reads a poem about a book, ‘For Example, My Hand’, and another about a garden, ‘Garden’. There’s a pleasing circularity here, especially for the medievalist in me. The image of a woman reading in a garden has a long ancestry. Take, for example, this detail from a miniature in a fifteenth-century manuscript (BL Harley MS 4425) of the Roman de la Rose.

Picture 1

There’s more, of course. ‘For Example, My Hand’, the final poem in our book, addresses the relationship between books and bodies, while ‘Garden’ begins by asking us to think of a garden as a notebook. Poets and readers meet on the page when they cannot in person, and book historians remind us how material is that meeting. The Institute of English Studies holds dear the history of the book as part of our work promoting and supporting research in English Studies. In many ways, then, it’s appropriate that our partnership with Inside Writing begins with a response to Linda Anderson’s poetry. We will continue reading and responding in the weeks to come. In the meantime, hello Linda! Congratulations on the publication of The Station Before from Pavilion Poetry. It’s good to see you reading from your book.

Clare A. Lees, Professor of Medieval Literature, Director of the Institute of English Studies

This article is part of the 2020 Inside Writing festival.