Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall since 1970 and the county’s mercurial
weather and rich
history are continuing sources of inspiration. So too is the personal and artistic
union Shuttle shared with her
husband, the poet Peter Redgrove, until his untimely death in 2003. The fruitful
nature of their relationship
is celebrated in her poetry and in the work they accomplished together, most notably
in the ground breaking
feminist studies on menstruation, ‘The Wise Wound’, and its sequel, ‘Alchemy for
“For me it is the way the poem breathes that gives it form"
Four portions of everything on the menu for M’sieur Monet!
Indigo Dreams Publishing, August 2016
“Here are poems which dance, which pad beside a traveller,
"Although ‘Hounslow Heath barely exists today’, Penelope Shuttle’s and John Greening’s
poems conjure back
its lost acres, returning to roots, treading ‘old desire paths’. Their lines, lilting
with place names, find room
for the Clouded Yellow butterfly, for the Red Kite, for market gardens with raspberries
and rhubarb. ‘Heath’
holds highwaymen, the great planes of Heathrow, the small flight of a bumblebee.
Here are poems which
dance, which pad beside a traveller, which mimic the shapes of scarecrows on the
page. This is a work of
love. But beware the ghost with a briefcase – and the Wolf of Perry Oaks" – Alison
‘Heath’ was launched at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in July 2016 with a special reading
and John Greening . To see the recording of this reading please click here.
which mimic the shapes of scarecrows on the page.”
Praise for ‘Heath’ from Poet Alison Brackenbury
Penelope Shuttle & John Greening
Nine Arches Press
Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival
Falmouth 12-13 November 2016
Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall
since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and
rich history are continuing sources of inspiration.
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Click on the YouTube link below to find recordings of Penelope reading her poetry.
Back in 2005 Penelope attended a Study Day at Tate Britain which focused on the Gallery’s
exhibition, Turner, Whistler, Monet. She made some notes, filed them and promptly
forgot about them.
A few years later they came to light in a notebook.
Suddenly she found herself writing about Monet
in London. Monet was a man with a very hearty
appetite. Penelope had gone to the Study Day on
her own, but more usually visit places with friends,
or with her daughter. In one of the poems Penelope
was accompanied by her Great Aunt Wave, and it is
1955. The common thread of the pamphlet are visits
she made and those experiences she encountered.
Sissinghurst, Paris, Lapland, Galway, Wales, and
Rome, are places explored. A set of travelling
poems capturing a sense of the energy she felt at
each different locale.
Although my ‘Unsent: New and Selected Poems’ stretches over thirty two years I remain
no wiser as to how
poems get themselves written. Since I began writing in my teens, nothing has so enthralled
me as poetry;
before my first attempts at writing, reading poetry had thrown a similar glamour
over me, as it continues to
do. Words are made of the breath of life, its essence, and they land on the page
still breathing. That, I think,
is the mystery and the surprise, for me, and then follows the hard work.
“It falls on to the open page through some kind magic"
Reading poetry. My grandfather had a shop - he sold prams and bikes, but he was
also an unofficial pawn-
broker so when times were hard between the wars people would bring a box of stuff
and he'd give them a
couple of quid, and it would often have old anthologies and old school books in and
I would sit in my
grandfather's house and read them. It's where I first came across Keats, Edward Thomas
and poets like that.
“Your journey into poetry, what started it?”
Alyson Hallet from Raceme Magazine asks the questions
Sean O'Brien enjoys an earthy collection of beauty and bereavement
‘Unsent: New and Selected Poems 1980-2012’ - review by the Guardian, 28 December
In the title poem of ‘Taxing the Rain’ (1992), Penelope Shuttle wrote: "When I wake
the rain's falling and I
think, as always, it's for the best, I remember how much I love rain, the weakest
and strongest of us all; as I
listen to its yesses and no's, I think of how many men and women would, if they could,
against all sense and
nature, tax the rain for its privileges." Even as recently as the early 1990’s this
might have looked slightly
whimsical to some, but Shuttle's prophecy of the death-wish of monetisation and environmental
is nowadays everywhere confirmed, while her level, reasonable voice seems that of
"sense and nature",
commending life as a self-evident good against those who might claim to improve on