Katharine Towers: let him bring a shrubbe
Poetry Pamphlet. 32pp.
Composer Gerald Finzi wrote, ‘To shake hands with a good friend over the centuries is a pleasant thing’. He was thinking of both the hands he had shaken from earlier centuries — poets whose words he had set to music, and composers whose music had inspired him — and of his own creative work, sent out into the world to shake hands with new generations of performers, listeners and creative minds beyond his own mortal span.
In this new pamphlet, Katharine Towers reaches out her own hand and pen to grasp Finzi’s, finding inspiration in his life and work. Drawing on her singing and listening, and on Diana McVeagh’s biography of the composer, Towers’s sequence of poems follows Finzi’s progress from childhood to the afterlife of his musical legacy, exploring themes of creativity and inspiration, family, love and illness, alongside aspects of his musical idiom. Programme Poems grow out of the music and enter into dialogue with his life, while Tasting Notes allow us to sample the fruits of some of those apple trees gathered by Finzi for his orchard.
Katharine Towers has published three collections with Picador. Oak (2021), a book-length poem about the life of an oak tree, was a Poetry Book of the Month in The Guardian. The Remedies (2016) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and The Floating Man (2010) won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. A pamphlet, The Violin Forest, was published by HappenStance in 2019.
Date of publication: 14 July 2023.