Jane Austen’s beautiful former house and garden at Chawton will be inspiring another female writer this summer as the museum has appointed a poet in residence.
During August and September Maura Dooley will be working with Hampshire’s Jane Austen House Museum on a number of writing related projects.
Maura, who teaches at Goldsmiths College and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has published a number of collections of poetry including her most recent book Life Under Water.
She has also edited a number of anthologies of verse and essays including The Honey Gatherers: Love Poems and How Novelists Work. Maura has twice been short-listed for the T.S.Eliot Award.
Maura told Eastleigh News she would be running poetry workshops not only at the museum and also at other venues locally hoping to inspire visitors and local folk to take up the pen.
She would also be writing new material based on her experince of the museum and the influence of Austen.
“I wanted to do something that would invigorate my own writing and make me think a bit differently.
“Jane Austen did write poetry, she was an occaisional poet but she brought that detalied eye, an interesting precision; all the things she is so well known for; focusing in very closley on something .
“All of that is the absolute essence of peotry. I’ll also be looking at things but going in quite deeply just like she did in her novels – but I’ll be doing it with poetry.”
Speaking for the Museum, Education Officer Annalie Talent, said:
“Maura brings a wealth of experience as a published poet and tutor to the Museum.
“She will spend about a day a week at the Museum throughout the coming months and will organise workshops, readings and other poetry inspired activity while also working on her own poetry.”
The Museum previously ran a successful writer-in-residence programme with novelist Rebecca Smith in 2009-10 and has continued to host workshops and other writing activities introduced during that residency.
Jane Austen’s House Museum will this year be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mansfield Park, Austen’s first book to have been written entirely at Chawton.
The residency – which is funded by a grant from the Arts Council – will give students and writers, published and unpublished, the opportunity to respond to the house and village where Jane lived and worked.