Rosamund Lehmann and Elizabeth Bishop

A Dream of Winter by Rosamund Lehmann

Novelist and short story writer Rosamond Lehmann was born in 1901, in Buckinghamshire and died in 1990. During World War II, Lehmann lived in the country with her two children and started a long relationship with the poet Cecil Day Lewis. For years, Lehmann’s novels were out of print. A Dream of Winter is collected in the Oxford Book of English Short Stories edited by AS Byatt. It first appeared in her collection, The Gipsy’s Baby.

Rosamund Lehmann interviewed by the Paris Review:

More about Lehmann by English Pen:

Thanks to Michaela Ridgway for sharing this link to a piece by Niall Griffiths:

The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop was born 1911 in Massachusetts and was brought up by her maternal grandparents. She later travelled widely and was a close friend of the poet Robert Lowell. She won the Pullitzer Prize in 1956. Died in 1979. During her lifetime she was respected but obscure. She is now regarded as one of the most important American poets of 20th century.

Read the poem:

Mark Doty writes about the poem for Poetry Daily:
Read about Elizabeth Bishop at the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Foundation:


David Constantine and Derek Walcott

On 14 October for our second RLF reading round meeting, we read David Constantine’s short story, ‘Tea at the Midland’ and Derek Walcott’s poem, ‘The Sea is History’, continuing the sea-related theme that has been set by Simon Faithfull’s installation, Reef, at Fabrica.

Under the big screen showing the sea’s surface and the boat sinking, with small screens behind us showing the underwater world, Walcott’s poem about slavery and colonialism resonated strongly and Constantine’s provocative story raised questions about whether an artist’s reputation affects how we look at or read his/her art.

David Constantine is a versatile writer who has made his literary reputation as a poet and former editor of the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation. In 2010 he won the BBC Short Story prize for his story, ‘Tea at the Midland’. Interviewed in the Guardian he explains that two images prompted the story.

Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex. He is a playwright and visual artist but has received most acclaim for his poetry which draws heavily from the islands, history and sea-life of the Caribbean, as well as classical literature.

More on David Constantine

Freelance writer, poet and translator, David Constantine was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1944.

More on Derek Walcott

Born on the island of Saint Lucia, a former British colony in the West Indies, poet and playwright Derek Walcott was trained as a painter but turned to writing as a young man.

Doris Lessing and Adrienne Rich

To the gurgle of water captured on screens – the early days of Simon Faithfull’s exhibition, Reef – the first Reading Round group met at Fabrica on Tuesday October 7. A dozen of us tackled a compelling short story by Doris Lessing – ‘Through the Tunnel’ – as well as poet Adrienne Rich’s famous ‘Diving into the Wreck’.

The story is tense and shows a young boy’s determination to test himself. It’s one of Lessing’s most well known stories. The poem uses the imagery of the sea to explore identity. Links to the poem and story are on the Texts page.

Lessing was born in 1919 and was brought up in Zimbabwe. She moved to London in 1949 when she also published her first novel, The Grass is Singing. She was outspoken about oppression in Zimbabwe and South Africa and was banned from South Africa in 1956. She turned down a damehood and and an OBE. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007 and died in 2013.

Rich was born ten years after Lessing, in 1929, in the USA. Like Lessing, she was politically engaged as a feminist and civil rights campaigner. The collection of poems, Diving into the Wreck, won the National Book Award in 1974. She refused the USA’s National Medal of Arts. She died in 2012.

About Simon Faithfull: