May 2nd, 2024: GENISTA LEWES

Many of Genista’s poems gain something by being read aloud, so as a former actor, she has enjoyed reading her work either solo, or with other members of the Fire River Poetry group in several venues. They include the Exeter Arts Centre (now The Phoenix), Dartington Literature Festival, Wells Literary Festival, The Plough Arts Centre, Black Torrington and others further afield.  Genista has read at monthly readings for many years with the Fire River Poetry Group and guest poets at the Brewhouse Theatre from 2011 and following on from there at the Creative Innovation Centre (CICIC) in Taunton until 2021.  These readings continue on Zoom for the present.

Recent publications: The Page is Printed (Tacchi Morris Arts Centre) for prize winning poems in 2014 and 2015   The Ver Prize shortlist 2014.  Shortlisted for the Wells Festival of Literature in 2014 –  judged by Andrew Motion.
Her first collection, Cat’s Cradle, was published in 2007 by Oversteps Press.

Tonight, Genista will be reading from her second collection, Tightrope (Elms Publishing March 2024).

Tightrope is among many things a wonderful evocation of a life. In poem after poem the poet’s flair for language and her observant eye illuminates, creating a true spark of connection in the reader.  It’s such a rewarding, wide-ranging collection: form, rhythm and craft abound and Genista Lewes’ fidelity to experience sings with moving and  genuine resonance throughout: highly readable and  ‘always gloriously available.”  Graeme Ryan, April 2024

Genista Lewes has in Tightrope produced a captivating collection that feels like a deeply connective dance.  Here are deft glimpses of a whole lifescape – the bittersweet drift through changing times, the vital connection to nature and garden, and the intricate patterning of close relationships.  Indeed, it could be said of the poet: ‘She knows about giving quarter/ her fractured history’.  A delight from start to finish.” Katie Griffiths April 2024

“A rich tapestry feels the best way to describe this evocative collection and the artistry behind it. Myth and magic, music and memory interweave; distant ‘moth-filled evenings’ of dance and laughter are conjured up; goats are revealed to be healers; a grandchild holds the world in a marble. There’s a quiet wisdom, and an eye to the wider world, to great art and to politics. Love is a thread that runs throughout. Each line of poetry is cleanly placed, and somehow luminous.” Annie Fisher April 2024

“I’ve read through your poems and realised that as well as the delicacy of your language there’s a visceral element to your writing that I’d kind of overlooked. It’s quite something to achieve such a balance and Tightrope is the perfect title for your collection. I’m deeply touched that you’ve written with such insight about me and that Reflex is the last poem in the collection; it has such subtlety and describes a process that could, I think, be applied to many different contexts.”  Sue Michie, April 2024