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On Saturday 9th February, a new poetry anthology was launched in Plymouth at The Clipper on Union Street.

If you think poetry is not your cup of tea, try taking a sip of a new anthology: Called to the Edge.

It’s a collection put together by a group of women writers based in Plymouth, who meet regularly and have been published in literary magazines both here and aboard.

The six women: Abigail Robinson, Jane Slavin, Jo Ball, Melisande Fitzsimmons, Rachel Gippetti and Rosie Barrett have all worked closely under the watchful eye of established poet Lucy Lepchani, whose Crafty Little Press (based in Exeter) has published the book.

The publication of this collection is bittersweet for the group as one of their number, Abigail, passed away in late December, after a long illness.
Many of the group’s poems draw heavily on the West Country; a fall in the River Dart, Salcombe on an Easter bank holiday and Plymouth’s identity.

The poems have a wide range of themes; love, of course, but motherhood and the eggshells mums have to stand on, cutting dissections of family life, technology and nature.

Each writer has a very distinctive voice. How can you not want to read a poem titled: ‘They Sent Him to Utah to Learn How to Think Better’?

It’s a collection written by real people for real people. All of the contributors are juggling work, family life, and care commitments, but all love the power of words and value time to stop, to reflect on what is around them and make something extraordinary out of the ordinary.

The book has been made more special by the addition of charming illustrations of Tom Merton Jones – an illustrator and print-maker based in Yorkshire… who happens to be related to Rosie.

For more information email: janeslavin@blueyonder.co.uk

About the poets

Abigail Robinson: a music thanatologist – one who plays music to comfort and calm those in dying in hospices – Abigail lived an unusual life. Her intense love of nature and her odyssey in the States shaped her work here. She died late December 2018.

Melisande Fitzsimons: has a background Fine Arts and translation, she writes poetry in English and French. Her work has appeared in UK and US anthologies and literary magazines and journals in France, Australia and the UK.

Jane Slavin: former journalist and now communications officer at Plymouth City Council, she was National Poetry Award 2017 runner up and has been published in Shooter literary magazine and Poetry 24.

Jo Ball: an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, she set up and runs the social enterprise Mums4AChange. She is currently developing a collection on motherhood.

Rosie Barrett: a former radio reporter, Rosie has had work published in magazines and anthologies in the UK and Tasmania. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2017, the ‘ erbacce’ pamphlet prize 2016 and commended for the Indigo Pamphlet Prize 2017.

Rachel Gippetti: Boston-born, but now living in Plymouth and working at Plymouth College of Art, Rachel’s debut collection Birthright (Eyewear Publishing) came out in 2016. Her poetry has appeared in publications in the UK and US and she’s the author of several children’s books.

Tom Merton Jones: an artist, illustrator and print-maker based in Yorkshire. He graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a First in Graphic Arts and Design. He has illustrated a children book, has designed brands and shop fronts and album artwork for bands.

Lucy Lepchani: a familiar face on the Westcountry circuit, she has performed at events and festivals, including Ways With Words, Dartington; Glastonbury Festival and the Larmer Tree Festival, to name a few. She is an Apples and Snakes performance poet and works as a poet coach/educator. She has two poetry publications: The Beckoning Wild (Acumen Poetry) and Ladygardens (Burning Eye Books)