Frances Presley - Halse for hazel


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Frances Presley - Halse for hazel

Published 2014. Paperback, 92pp, 9x6ins.
ISBN 9781848613409 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
Halse is Exmoor dialect for hazel, as transcribed by local historian Hazel Eardley-Wilmot: a convergence of names which initiates a new poetic syntax of marginal trees and tongues. Halse for hazel has three sections, Halse, Col and Hassel: alternate and playful names for hazel, which map wide ranging geographic and linguistic areas, as well as political and environmental pressures. Halse begins with Exmoor tree names and ends with Lorna Doone, while Col moves from an irreverent Celtic tree alphabet to Atlantic woods in Scotland where hazel dominates. Hassel takes us from the devastation of Oak Change, after WWI, to the naming of hidden whitebeams in Avon Gorge. Much of Halse for hazel, like Presley’s earlier sequences, Myne and Lines of sight, is ‘blind writing’, when the eye and mind focus on the landscape rather than the page, although what we see and how we see are more at risk. The visual design of the text is shaped by the language of trees and their strange physical evolution, in dialogue with the images of Irma Irsara. The book also contains a recent collaboration with American poet and artist Julia Cohen, commissioned for Likestarlings.

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