Penny Boxall (UK)

Photo: private collection

Penny Boxall is a poet whose published collections are Ship of the Line (Eyewear, 2014); Who Goes There? (Valley Press, 2018); and In Praise of Hands (with Naoko Matsubara’s woodcuts, Ashmolean Museum, 2020). She has won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the Mslexia/PBS International Women’s Poetry Prize. She is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, and has held fellowships/residencies with UNESCO Cities of Literature, Tartu, Estonia (2022); Merton College, University of Oxford (2019); Château de Lavigny, Switzerland (2018); Hawthornden Castle, Scotland (2017, 2023); and Gladstone’s Library, Wales (2017). In 2021 she received funding from Arts Council England to develop her first novel for children, and she is currently working on ‘Replaying the Tape’, a collaboration with palaeontologist Dr Frankie Dunn and percussionist Dr Jane Boxall, which will premiere in New York City in autumn 2023.

Penny Boxall spent a month in Tartu as a writer-in-residence in Tartu in August 2022 as part of the Tartu-Norwich writers exchange program. A selection of her poems, inspired by her experiences here, has been translated into Estonian by Kersti Unt and published in the magazine Akadeemia (May 2023).

We are happy to welcome Penny back to Tartu and when we asked her what she thinks about the theme of this year’s festival, she replied with a poem:

Impossible Tasks 

Tell her to find me

a well without wet

a night without darkness

a way to be right

Tell her to find me

a thing without fault

a sea with no current

a way to forget

Tell her to find me

a peppercorn feast

a dawn without morning

a way to be just

Tell her to find me

a home with no door

a closer horizon

a way to be sure

Tell her to find me

an acre of land

a sickle of leather

a way to be found

Saturday, May 13th 17.30 at the Tartu Literary House Culture Club Salong