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Tessa Berring on Folded Purse


The hardest part of this collection was choosing a title for it -


I had so many: 'Prod' was one, then 'Not Like Meat', 'Love I Limited', and 'Of Course I Dream About Swimming Pools'.


In the end it was the soft sounds of the words 'Folded' and 'Purse' that held in place the most. Soft and also closed, slightly secret perhaps, containing something unseen.


I think of it a quietly restless book – the restlessness of language in its search for the right word/words/sounds with which to create (or unravel) images, stories, meaning.


(Words as birds looking for somewhere to alight for a moment, to pause, to balance, to look around)


Longing is also a huge part of the collection. Longing, but also hesitancy - the tension between knowing and not knowing, touching and not touching, connecting and dis-connecting.


And music – I have really loved doing some research this year into twelve-tone music and the way in which the pieces require listeners really to listen with no pre-conceived idea or expectation of pattern, drift, or note – the pieces have an autonomy, a self-containedness about them that doesn’t fit into a 'normal' listening experience.


Perhaps the pieces could be described as having a 'peculiar aloneness' about them, but one created not as an expression of deliberate absurdity, but more as an emotionally felt resistance to the compulsory sociability, and 'normative coherence' of popular (dominant?) culture.


And dream (of course I dream) – but not so much the uncanny content of dream life as its quality. The suddenness of imagery, but also the absolute fragility of it all - how vivid, how remarkable, how so suddenly forgotten.


Tessa Berring


Folded Purse is available for £10 from Blue Diode Press.

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