Landscape from a Dream is Elisabeth Bletsoe's first collection in ten years and offers startling evidence of a powerful voice that should be better known. Very much a poet of place, Elisabeth Bletsoe fuses elements of folklore, botany, literature, myth and narrative into a poetry that is at once feminist in spirit, forthright, and - to a certain extent - at odds with the prevailing British poetic styles, whether conservative or radical. Rooted in the landscape of her native Dorset, this is poetry of deep observation, but within that she also gives voice to some of Thomas Hardy's heroines - not just Tess Durbeyfield, but lesser-known female characters such as Marty South in The Woodlanders - characters who are much a part of this Dorset landscape as Bletsoe's poetry is. And the voices they gain are not the voices in Hardy's narratives, but strong, independent voices who have thrown off their creator.
Elisabeth Bletsoe was born and raised near Wimborne in Dorset; having been taught to read at an early age, she developed a love for the myths, legends and folklore of many cultures. After working for some time with learning disadvantaged adults she went to Cardiff University to study psychology where she also learned Welsh and Classical studies. During her time as a postgraduate, teaching both undergraduate psychology at the University and Women's Studies at the Extramural department, she joined the poetry performance group Cabaret 246 which had been instigated by the poet Chris Torrance. After several years reading in jazz clubs and the city's Chapter Art Centre, she co-founded, with Gill Brightmore, the women's performance group Deadlier than the Male, which provided an alternative to the male-dominated culture that prevailed in S. Wales at that time. During one of her solo readings, she met the publisher of Odyssey Poets Press, Derrick Woolf, who subsequently produced three of her works. In the early 90s she obtained a history degree, studied the Russian language, taught a creative writing course in the Vale of Glamorgan and was published widely in a range of small press magazines in Britain as well as the USA, Japan, Estonia and Argentina. In 1995 she returned to Dorset where she now lives with the writer and translator Ian Taylor. She has continued to pursue her interests in plant medicines and is currently training to be a homeopath, while also being involved with the administration of Sherborne Museum. Her work is informed by her knowledge of botany, folklore, geology and history.
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