Charles Saumarez Smith is a freelance writer, curator and art historian. He is an urban explorer by foot and bicycle, and a person who is alive to the wonders of life.
In this recording, poet Ruth Padel offers sounds and senses from her lifelong connection to a familial forest touchstone. The place and pulse of her poem is somehow umbilical, the wind and birdsong become her breath and feelings.
There are two beauties in our world, the world itself and how it’s seen. In our second mini-podcast, a moment’s thought is offered to us, and we follow the thought’s line along with artist, Andrew Hewish, to where it settles on the remembering of the dead, the rituals of stone, and the poetry, shape and movement of a poetic form being described as, almost, sculpture or choreography. In The Nature Of, shares the varied and rich ways we each see and think about the world.
This is a beginning; the first of (hopefully) firsts and seconds and thirds, and 47ths and 102nds. In The Nature Of is a series of short recordings, done outdoors (mostly) with the sounds of birds and branches as roof; water, soil and sand as flooring.
Hazel has asked farmers, artists, writers, thinkers and individuals from around the world to capture an idea, question or poem and share it. These are glimpses of a place, a time of day, a season, or momentary thought.
Our first recording is from Marguerite Legros, whose name is a strong, tall flower, which grows wild in its’ native Canary Islands, and has now made its’ way around the world in blue, pink, yellow, white, always with its raised yoke at the centre.
In Irish, the word for daisy is noínín, meaning ‘afternoon child’ and Marguerite has this sense of openess, playfulness and rootedness. Marguerite is from France, and is working as a veg and flower grower in Devon. In her recording, done under a mulberry tree, she shares an erotic poem by Audre Lorde, an American writer, feminist and civil rights activist, who described herself as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” and whose life and creativity were dedicated to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.
Today is the first day that Hazel Press has had walls. Just beyond the press desk, we are currently looking out at a muntjac deer that has been commuting back and forth all day to nibble, and listen intensely for any sound that is not its’ own.
It is the first day of June, a time to look up at the mostly uninterrupted sky: only blue, white and greys, moving to the west. Today has been all about metadata, timelines and ticking things and trims.
This autumn, Hazel will be publishing four pamphlets, an essay by Sean Borodale, poetry by Anna Selby and Ella Duffy, and a long poem by Matthew Hollis.
Stay tuned for more information!
Anna Selby is a poet and naturalist. She works collaboratively with conservationists, and is doing a PhD on Plein Air Poetry, Empathy and Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is currently Poet-in-Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, as well as Cambridge Conservation Initiative, and was formerly in residence at Schumacher College. Her poetry often explores our connection with water and the natural world. She writes poetic-studies of different species in-situ, directly from life, often underwater, and aims for these poems to share a sense of compassion and attentiveness to the environment.
She works on cross-artform, poetry-dance pieces that tour the UK, have been featured on the BBC Culture Show and as a finalist for The Samuel Beckett Trust Theatre Award. Her current piece, Beneath Our Feet is performed in caves and underground spaces and was made in collaboration with cavers, miners and archaeologists. Anna was listed as ‘One of Five British Poets to Watch’ by the Huffington Post. She is co-editor of The World Record – an anthology of contemporary poetry from 204 countries, was the curator of Poetry International and Poetry Parnassus festivals, and is currently writing a non-fiction book called Wild City, about nature in London.
She is inspired and influenced by: writers Rachel Carson, Richard Jefferies, the Transcendentalists; painters Emily Carr, Casper David Friedrich; Deep Ecology, Animism and Gaia Theory; the creative practices of plein air and impressionist artists; eastern European poetry, and in her reading returns often to poets such as Nikola Madzirov, Anna Swir, Katie Ford and Alice Oswald.
The Latin name for hazel is Corylus avellana. As Max Adams writes in his book The Wisdom of Trees, “The Hazel may be small, but it is the champion of the woods: the most useful of all trees. The Anglo-Saxons believed it to be their own special tree of knowledge. From it we learn that strength may come from small packages; that flexibility is a strength in itself, and that self-renewal is the art of survival.” Not only that, the hazel is native to the UK and many other countries around the globe.
Hazel Press is dedicated to the complex and the curious. Here you will be able to find musings from our curious crowd, and news on what will be forthcoming and reflections what has already, or might have been.