Title: Dorset Voices: A Collection of New Prose, Poetry and Photography
Author: Various contributors
Foreword: By HRH The Prince of Wales
Sale Price: £3.99
Publication date: 21 April 2012
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Number of pages: 128
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This delightful mixed bag showcases a thought-provoking selection of contemporary writing and photographs reflecting Dorset’s variety – a changing modern county, yet still a traditional rural place beloved by so many.
Dorset Voices includes work from new and established writers and photographers, which you can dip into and enjoy – rather like finding nuggets of sea-glass on a beach. It represents the diversity of people, places and talents and is set against a backdrop of the beautiful Dorset landscape. It explores the county through the eyes of local people, with something for everyone: stunning images, poems and verse, intriguing short stories and reminiscences.
This ambitious project was brought to fruition by Poundbury Voices – three established authors with a strong track record for seeking out and promoting artistic talent. The book provides a platform for diverse voices and different forms of writing – dark, imaginative and socially aware – as a celebration of local creativity.
Extract from the Preface
The publication of the Dorset Voices anthology takes place in the year of the Cultural Olympiad, and the year when Poundbury’s Queen Mother Square promises to become the centrepiece of this exciting new urban development and, who knows, the key destination of a new coffee-house artistic and literary culture. Let’s make it the Dorset equivalent of Prague’s Wenceslas Square!
Dorset Voices draws on the literary and photographic talents of the people of Dorset. The editors’ aim was to create a book full of images and quality writing of real beauty and interest. We are delighted to have received a portfolio of outstanding photographs submitted by students at the excellent Thomas Hardye School, another magnet for families all over the county. Not surprisingly, Ofsted inspectors rated it as one of the best comprehensive schools in the country.
Our starting-point was the firm belief that everyone here has a story to tell. We believe that there are many talented writers and photographers (both established and unpublished) in our communities, who deserve to have their work made available for the appreciation of others.
Louisa Adjoa Parker
Jim Potts, OBE
What Reviewers & Contributors have said:
Dorset Voices is a gem of a book, professionally produced and brought to fruition by an ambitious group of people called Poundbury Voices. I hope to see more from them. With a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, this credible little book is packed with poetry, short stories, articles and photographs of Dorset. In black-and-white it explores the county through the eyes of local people creating a reflective mood. I was intrigued to discover the ‘Forgotten uses of furze’ by Nigel Palfrey, amused to read a poem by Timmy Crump about an ‘Odd Encounter in Shaftesbury’ and loved Andy Case’s good old Dorset dialect in the verse ‘Shepherd’s warning.’ The photograph that will remain with me for longest is that entitled ‘William Barnes, the voice of Dorset’ in the snow. The short stories are well chosen, if a bit gruesome, and I would have liked something humorous, but for me the outstanding piece was an article by Benjamin Blech, ‘The world has changed; so must Dorset.’ In his piece, he details the stark fact that by 2035 the world will be a different place because of the acute shortage of oil. The repercussions for Dorset are that tourism could increase three fold. This article is a must read and got me thinking about the future and how the cost of air travel will eventually be crippling. But don’t despair, settling for good old Dorset for your holidays isn’t such a bad option.
Janine Pulford, mags4dorset
If you thought articulating Dorset was all about dialect, dinosaurs and Durdle Door, think again; this fresh compilation of voice and vision is an assembly of words and pictures from the mind’s eye of local residents as keenly aware of the contemporary with its capacity for change and trying social circumstance as they are of their inherent heritage of time and place – and as seen and understood by both the young (with contributions from students at Thomas Hardye School) and the, sadly, just now departed. Compiled and edited by Poundbury Voices – an impressive trio of writers comprising Louisa Adjoa Parker, Maria Strani-Potts and Jim Potts (themselves widely travelled and of multinational descent) – and with a Foreword, (rather, a letter of endorsement) from HRH The Prince of Wales, you immediately know that these will be expressions of thoughts and utterances perhaps quite different in nature to that of former county native, William Barnes.
Beautifully produced in monochrome black and white, the photographs (which make up about 20 per cent of the 128 pages) are a thoughtful display of both curiosity and capture of subjects reflective as much of a changing social fabric as the natural beauty and civilised culture of the county from which they derive. Short stories and brief episodes of prose make up the greater part of this collection, written in refreshing styles and incorporating themes as diverse as addiction in Bournemouth, alien-robotic infiltration of the movie scene and a “real-life” blog from a village the tourist-trail has largely left untouched. The smattering of poems included is equally diverse yet they, too, are potent in their range of themes and form.
From its Poundbury-centric beginnings, this anthology ripples outwards, county-wide, with vivid portrayals. In the opening poem, The view from Poundbury, Robin Daglish of Weymouth says “you can almost feel the weight of bones under grass”, whereas Margery Hookings in The world from my window seems to revel in her “Lush Places, an enchanted village where the luvvies seldom venture”, noting that these visitors also “don’t see the shoplifter hovering around Frosts, the deals going on up narrow alleyways, or the mad woman made mad by the man who abused her” in Bridport. “Lush Places does not appear on the incomers’ radar”, she says, with a degree of satisfaction. Walking the dogs in Bournemouth by Maria Konstanse Bruun is a striking image and urban social capture that would grace any photo-journalist’s collection.
Contributors’ credentials are equally varied as they are impressive, ranging from the first-time-published to the seasoned professional – though you would be hard pressed to distinguish, by their work, who falls into which category, such has been the careful consideration given to the selection process by the three presiding editors. As HRH himself underscores in his Foreword, “everyone has a story to tell” and this new anthology of writing and images from around the county bears witness to a Dorset that, whilst keenly aware of its social, geographic and cultural roots, is also very much alive to the tide and times of a global 21st century, telling its story as it goes…
‘The editors of this delightful volume of images, stories, reminiscences and poetry took a chance and invited new and established writers and photographers to send in contributions, from which they selected the final items by vote. Did it pay off? Yes! The black-and-white images alone speak to the quality of the content. This is a book for dipping into and finding treasures, of which there are plenty, factual, fictional, visual and poetic. Those who love the county already will rejoice in the book; those who don't will want to visit it. Hats off to Roving Press, one of an increasing number of small independent presses, who had the faith and vision to produce this little gem of a book.’
A great read of an anthology of Dorset memories, tourism, fiction, sci-fi, ghost stories, poems and photographs. A must-have for anyone interested in the lives of people from Dorset.
Gives a real sense of the county, past and present. Just the right mix of fiction, memoir, verse and pictures, written by exceptionally good writers who know and understand the area. Definitely take a look at this if you're interested in Dorset or just want a good read.
I am delighted with the publication of two of my photos in the latest book produced by local publisher Roving Press. Both have been printed full page and seem to me to have presence – though I guess it’s hard for me to be objective. It was an interesting exercise considering what to submit as all the photos are printed in black and white. I felt that without colour, light and texture were particularly important in bringing the picture alive.Wonderful that so many writers were able to voice their work as part of the Bournemouth Festival of Words at the launch. Portland is particularly well represented in the photographs – all full page. Scott Irvine has an unusual slant on both St George’s Church and the skull and crossbones on a gravestone in St Andrews Churchyard, whilst Portland Bill is captured by Laura Edwards.
Sarah Gilpin, The Portland Sculpture Hut
I loved the book and am very proud that my story is included. Am very aware how hard you all must have worked. My (handicapped) granddaughter was totally engrossed when I read the stories to her, so I pass on to you her appreciation as well.
I feel proud to have had my work chosen to appear among so many high-quality contributions.
Dorset Voices is a lovely publication. I'm delighted to be part of it.
I think the book looks great, and it is such a thrill to be part of it.
Antonia Nevill - Dorset, with love
Lilian Irene Thomas - ‘Treasures’ – days and ways
Jennifer Grierson - Swanage revisited
Julian Nangle - A day at Chydyok
Lucy Nankivell - Chesil Beach to New Forest
Geraldine Farrow - Swannery
Jennifer Stewkesbury - A Portland life
Benjamin Blech - The world has changed; so must Dorset
Claire Wyburn - Wedding dress
Paddy Hughes - High Dorset
Janet Hancock - Memory
Andy Case - Shepherd’s warning
Andy Case - September love
Timmy Crump - Odd encounter in Shaftesbury
Pam Kelly - Susan Henchard, Dorchester Fair, 1886
Lesley Burt - In the priory graveyard
Frederick Rea Alexander - Never forget
Frederick Rea Alexander - Burnt
Helen Pizzey - Nautical map
Valerie Bridge - ‘Where are you to?’
Nigel Palfrey - Forgotten uses of furze
Judy Bannon - The bridge
Megan Cannon - Fitz’s story
Frances Colville - On a Dorset cliff-top
Maya Pieris - Battered fish
Janet Gogerty - Four days in June
Jeanette Lowe - Too loved to say goodbye
Gail Aldwin - Dusting off the memories
Phil Mullane - Liberation song 2001
Patrick O’Neill - The box
Karen Wright - The landslip
Audrey Lee - Lady Caroline Pountney
Margery Hookings - The world from my window
Judy Hall - Circle song
Bronwen Coe - ‘Dead slow’
Jim Aldhouse - Isar Defoe
Janet Wadsworth - The cottage
Anne Clegg - Exploring our Jurassic Coast
Maya Pieris - Tide lines, West Bay
Janet Wells - Seagulls at sunset, Rawtock Pier, Poole
Caitlin Palmer - Jetty reflection, The Fleet
Doff Davies - Boogie woogie duet, Sturminster Newton festival
Laura Gardner - Bridport Market
Merete Bates - February Dawn
Laura Edwards - Portland Bill
Scott Irvine - St Andrew’s graveyard and Rufus Castle, Portland
Maria Konstanse Bruun - Walking the dogs in Bournemouth
Scott Irvine - St George’s Church, Portland
Katie Stenhouse - Abandoned
Emma Foot - Lone tree
Rosy Emberley - Ringstead Beach reflections
Alicia Chambers-Hill - Bees
Bronwen Coe - Moses saving the Israelites, St Basil’s Church, Toller Fratrum
Rosanna Wilmott - Poppies
Sarah Gilpin - Low tide at Portland Bill
Jessica Knight - ‘Up is Down’ River reflection, Blandford
Sarah Gilpin - Flaky Portland rock
Abbie Williams - Hive Beach
Bronwen Coe - In the summerhouse shadows
Becky Hinsley - Mortain Bridge, Blandford
Joff Rees - Anne-Marie
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Roving Press was delighted to be involved in this unique project from the outset. When asked to help put together a Dorset anthology, we had no idea how much enthusiasm and support the project would generate. Supportive comments from people embracing it confirmed the belief that there was a need for such a book – an opportunity for new and established writers and photographers to have their work published in something long-lasting – a locally produced and marketed book (Roving Press’s speciality). The project also gained the support of Creative Dorset, for which we are most grateful.
As with any line of publishing, someone has to make a decision on content. In this case, the Editorial Team (three independent professional writers) carefully selected what they felt were the best submissions. Each of the three editors is experienced in different ways and all are published writers and have significant, wide-ranging experience in supporting and promoting literature and the arts.
The project would have been unworkable had we not imposed certain limitations; this included asking for submissions in electronic format for ease of processing, and requesting a small fee with each piece of work. This was to ensure that people did not send in their entire collection of writing or photography, but focused on their very best work. In return we hope that by providing a free copy of the book to everyone who participated, people would feel part of the project, regardless of whether their submission(s) were selected. We also stipulated that at least half the material selected should have direct relevance or connection to Dorset in terms of setting or inspiration, in order that the final book reflected our county.
We hope this original collection of prose, poetry and photography will inspire others and be seen as a great collective effort, something to be proud of.
Click HERE to read Purbeck! Journal's full review of Dorset Voices.
Click HERE for The Portland Portal.
Click HERE for author Gail Aldwin's blog.
Click HERE for Jim Potts' blog, with comments, views and selective links about books, music (especially the blues), the arts, landscape and the environment.
Click HERE for Harry Hogger's Dorset Echo article.