By (author) Mari Ellis Dunning
In Mari Ellis Dunning’s debut poetry collection fairy tale figures abound, historical women are revived from the dead, and the intricacies of relationships are examined as they are built and undone. In these poems, women raise their voices and subvert the age-old tales told on their behalf: Roman goddess Salacia explores her tumultuous relationship with Neptune; Gwen Ellis, the first woman hung for witchcraft in Wales, reflects on her impending fate; a Queen bee is usurped by her daughter and depression visits in the emaciated form of an old and forgotten friend. The contours of the Welsh countryside creep through the writings, torment is mapped across the landscape and the flesh, and traumas inflict the body as well as the mind. The sea permeates the verses in this selection – below the surface of the ocean, a mermaid builds her collection of human debris, desperate to fulfil her desire for anthropoid limbs, and a woman plunges to the briny depths, engulfing herself in its warm current. Love, grief, longing, anxiety and mythology fill these stark and honest pages in an existential exploration of human nature and our fallibility, where the dark and sombre moments in life are as precious as the uplifting ones.
Mari Ellis Dunning
Mari Ellis Dunning is a Welsh writer of poetry, short stories, novels and children’s books. She currently lives on the coast of Swansea, and couldn’t imagine ever living away from the sea, which is a constant feature in her writing. Mari received her education entirely in Welsh until she went to Aberystwyth University to study English Literature and Creative Writing, where she also went on to complete her MA qualification. She currently works part-time at the social enterprise Indycube, writing and producing content and handling the social media. In the past she has also worked freelance for various companies, with one of her most exciting projects involving a BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Mr Quin. Mari has been a runner up in the Robin Reeves Prize and twice in The Welsh Poetry Competition; she has been both first place winner and highly commended in the Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award, and has work published in several journals and anthologies. She is interested in women’s writing, culture, gender politics and loves dogs more than anything.