The House of the Interpreter

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$18.99  $17.66
Carcanet Press
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About the Author
Lisa Kelly has single-sided deafness. She is also half Danish. Her debut, A Map Towards Fluency (Carcanet 2019), was shortlisted for for the Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize 2021. She is co-Chair of Magma Poetry and a regular host of poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House, London. She has been studying British Sign Language (BSL) for several years and has a Signature Level 6 qualification in BSL. She teaches poetry and performance, and is a freelance technology journalist. To escape noise, she walks and looks out for, among other things, fungi
'This collection is as varied as it is powerful, as imaginative as it is self-possessed with a strength the reader can feel in the writing of a poet secure in their place in the world and confident enough to examine the failings and successes we all have. This is an incredible piece of work and must be read for its insightfulness and its beauty.' Jon Wilkins, Everybody's Reviewing
'First thing I love about Lisa Kelly's work is her incredible imagination - she tells the truth (about oralism, discrimination, injustice) but tells it in a way that's so lyrical it's instantly memorable. Which is to say: Kelly invents her own style, a blend of passion and invention. How does she do it? By bringing surprising tonalities, memorable rhythms, unpredictable turns, and often a story echoes that is both deeply personal and yet larger than life (because it speaks for all who had been silenced, yes, by oralism, by discrimination, yes, by injustice). The second thing I love about The House of the Interpreter is that this manifesto for D/deaf culture, shimmering with music and lyric abandon, is unafraid of discovery. Manifestos can be so flat, after all. Not this book. Kelly's journey is one of transformation: as soon told myself "I know what this poet is doing," the tables were turned, surprise entered the room. Here the ear becomes a mushroom, a whole bestiary opens up, with a moon of its own making, and a heron that flies like a paper aeroplane. Of "deaf sky," she writes, where "clouds are like my fingers". There's magic, in Lisa Kelly's pages, and no end of invention.I love this book.' Ilya Kaminsky
'Kelly's words are a sensory joy. We are taken through time, space and dimensions - almost quantum leaping through her observations, whilst she remains rooted to the Earth and attunes "to life's vibrations" and nature. Turning the physical into metaphysical, the imagined into tactile possibilities and time into rabbit holes. She asks us to walk with her as she shows her defiant existence between two wholes, discovering and defining a whole of her own. Her poems place questions of identity in deafness, in language and finding ourselves not in the 'building of' but in the 'stripping away'. As if sailing upstream, Kelly's hands prove oars, plunging in rhythmically, pushing back against the resistance of societal expectations, guiding herself home. She doesn't need your permission or asks you to accept her, she's doing that for herself, but her words invite us to observe ourselves and each-other through a macro lens, and see for the first time.' Sophie Stone
'In Lisa Kelly's second collection the speaker delves deeper into Deaf history and the nuances of Deaf culture, finding compelling connections (and networks) between the outer and inner worlds of deafness, BSL and between-ness. The House of the Interpreter is a brave and linguistically rich, complex collection of poems.' Raymond Antrobus
'There's a magic here that turns language into deep, moving, restless flesh, and like all the best poetry, it's operating at a cellular level. English is transcended, which is also what this is �about - about language as a way of desiring, of feeling, of listening with the flesh. I can hardly think of a book in which I've experienced the body as an ecology, in such a felt way. I call this cellular listening, and it holds me somewhere deep, deep down, below human speech. At their best, what these poems do with language has something to do with losing your head and being erotic at the same time, from the same impulse.' Jason Allen-Paisant