Caroline Carver with Professor Martin Attrill and students from the MA Publishing course taken during the launch of Fish Eaters at Plymouth University

New poetry compilation turns the science of water into words

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A book of poems inspired by the world’s seas and oceans has been launched at Plymouth University.

Fish Eaters is the fifth compilation produced by Cornwall-based poet Caroline Carver, poet in residence at the University’s Marine Institute.

The result of a year’s work, the poems have been written following discussions with marine scientists and reflect the preciousness of marine life, the urgency of environmental concerns, and the dangers to threatened species.

Caroline is a former winner of the National Poetry Competition, and has seen her works translated into various languages including French, Italian and Romanian.

She told ArtsCulture: “A particular challenge in the writing of these poems was to reflect on scientific matters without letting a poem become a piece of prose, or without going into too much technical detail.

“But it was a challenge worth taking on because one of the greatest pleasures in my life has been working in the Marine Institute, among scientists of such stature and on a subject of such importance.

“I fell in love with the blue whale and with plankton, in particular, the largest and smallest beings/organisms on the planet.”

Conceived by Associate Lecturer Tim Guy, and published by University of Plymouth Press, Fish Eaters is designed to be accessible to poetry fans and newcomers alike.

A cohesive thread runs through the collection, linking each piece together in the order they are placed, and the final poems reflect on humanity’s place within the environment, and the inescapable fact that we ourselves are composed mainly of water.

As well as the link to marine scientists, the book also features images by Plymouth University photographers alongside illustrations by students, graduates and lecturers. Students from the MA Publishing course also helped coordinate the launch event.

Caroline has been Poet in Residence since early 2013, and her works can be seen at various university locations including within its landmark Marine Building.

Professor Martin Attrill, director of Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, says in the book’s foreword: “The ocean has a draw and a power that I feel no other part of our earth has. It’s deep-rooted and spiritual, it captures people from an early age and doesn’t let them go, and so we find disparate and sometimes convoluted ways of staying connected, to be able to say ‘we work on the sea’. Fish Eaters expresses all that perfectly.”

Fish Eaters, by Caroline Carver and published by University of Plymouth Press, is priced £12.99 and can be purchased via the Plymouth University eStore.

(image: Caroline Carver with Professor Martin Attrill and students from the MA Publishing course taken during the launch of Fish Eaters at Plymouth University)

(from a press release)