Carcanet online book launch: The House of the Interpreter by Lisa Kelly

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Lisa Kelly.

12 April 2023 Tickets from £2.00 — Book now

Lisa Kelly launches her second collection, The House of the Interpreter, with an online reading and discussion hosted by fellow Carcanet poet Jason Allen-Paisant.

A Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation, Lisa Kelly’s new poetry collection The House of the Interpreter responds to the repression of British Sign Language (BSL) as its occasion and inspiration. Lisa develops the subject through extended sequences which attend to mushrooms and fungi – lifeforms that develop in secret, unnoticed, unappreciated, yet whose existence enriches everyday life. Recognising that BSL and fungi have both been considered ‘other’ and oppressed, the book makes a plea for broader understandings in how we communicate and embrace diversity. What can such hidden others teach us, if we attune all our senses?

Preoccupations with how we hear and the language of the eye continue as themes from her debut, A Map Towards Fluency, which was published by Manchester’s Carcanet Press in 2019 and shortlisted for for the Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize 2021. The title poem, ‘The House of the Interpreter’, is the result of a commission to respond to telephony and an object on the Science Museum website from a d/Deaf and marginalised perspective. Elsewhere, society’s widespread mycophobia and common misunderstandings about fungi inspired many of the poems. Through their roles in medicine, food, culture, and mind-altering experiences, fungi offer openings to different understandings and perspectives. Acting as a metaphor to improve tolerance and gain mutual benefit from diverse groups within society, these poems ask how we might better respect difference.

Lisa Kelly has single-sided deafness. She has been studying British Sign Language (BSL) for several years and has a Signature Level 6 qualification in BSL. Her poems have been selected for anthologies including Stairs And Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press) and the Forward Book Of Poetry. In 2021, she co-edited What Meets The Eye, an anthology of poetry and short fiction by UK Deaf, deaf and Hard of Hearing writers for Arachne Press. She is co-Chair of Magma Poetry and a regular host of poetry evenings at the Torriano Meeting House in London. She also teaches poetry and performance, and works as a freelance technology journalist. To escape noise, she walks and looks out for, among other things, fungi.

A Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation, Lisa Kelly’s new poetry collection The House of the Interpreter responds to the repression of British Sign Language.

Jason Allen-Paisant is a Jamaican writer and academic who works as a senior lecturer in Critical Theory and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester. He’s the author of two poetry collections, Thinking With Trees (Carcanet Press, 2021), winner of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for poetry, and Self-Portrait As Othello, out soon, also with Carcanet Press. His non-fiction book Scanning The Bush will be published by Hutchinson Heinemann in 2024. He will be having an IRL launch of Self-Portrait As Othello on 3 May at Blackwells bookshop.

As always with Carcanet Press events, extracts of the text will be shown during the reading so that you can read along, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. Registration for this online event is £2, redeemable against the cost of the book – attendees will receive a discount code and details of how to get hold of the new book during and after the event.

The House of the Interpreter by Lisa Kelly
The House of the Interpreter by Lisa Kelly

12 April 2023 Tickets from £2.00 Book now

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