Julia Duke is a nature writer and poet whose writing is informed by her love of landscape and her fellow humans. Fascinated by all kinds of connections and borders, between both individuals and nations, Julia has lived in and been inspired by a variety of locations and their inhabitants across England, Wales and the Netherlands.
'Conversations' by Julia Duke
Drawing on her own experience of relationships plus her observations of others, Julia Duke provides thought-provoking, poignant and often humorous insights into the whole complex subject of our attempts to get on with one another. An encounter that sets the nerves jangling with a self-important trainee teacher in a café in Aberystwyth, a reunion of close friends from vastly different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, an unsettling conversation with a homeless person on the streets of Norwich, a close-up of mother and father in those all-important early years of childhood combine together to ask the question: what is it that promotes or destroys the experience of intimacy in our lives?
“Julia Duke’s attentive ear and perceptive eye inform her observational poetry which seeks out elusive meanings in the ebb and flow of every-day social encounters; meanwhile her lively imagination makes her equally adept at inferring possible stories and emotional baggage lying behind the static interactions within the paintings which inspire her well-made ekphrastic poems.”
— Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, poetry editor, London Grip
“These poems are precision lenses. Through them Julia Duke draws on experience and art to examine human relationships in close-up. She reflects on the living and the dead,long - term relationships and fleeting encounters in her examination of ‘the stuff the world is made of’. Beginning with wonder and love for a new - born baby, she also considers couples, cocktail drinkers, wrestlers, counsellors and friends. In most poems, ‘humanity oozes from every pore’, though she’s astute at noticing gaps and ‘mis-meetings’. Julia's poems leave her readers enlightened, aware of what is really taking place in Conversations, through her perceptive but kindly lens. ”
— Chris Kinsey, poet and creative writing tutor
“Human connection runs through these poems like the strong knots that bind together the complex patterns of a Persian carpet. Friends, lovers, partners meet, enjoy, sometimes lose each other and gain rueful insights into the inevitable sadness that ‘somewhere down the line /we strayed and lost our way’. All of the handful of poems that reference another work of art bring us a fresh understanding of that artist’s depiction of the human condition. Matisse’s wife wears a blouse that ‘simpers’ - a flash of the insight that lights up this poem and all the poems in this fine collection.”
-- Kate Foley, president, Suffolk Poetry Society
148 x 210mm, 36 pages
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