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Cover of Postcard from a Waterless Lake

Postcard from a Waterless Lake by Lisa Matthews,
ISBN 978-0-9539196-2-8

Lisa Matthews reading

Lisa Matthews reading at the launch event on National Poetry Day, Thursday 4th October 2002.

I listen to the sound of rotor blades
above my head,
as the Coastguard conducts a sweeping
search, for the freshwater and where it has gone

In the dustbowl of the lake,
a woman walks a dog,
her feet angled over compacted sand,
rippled by water. Gone.

That is your heart. Empty.
When it could be so full.
Write to me. Please. Write to me.

"Lisa Matthews is an immediate and distinctive poet; her tone can be passionate, witty, or dislocating by turns. She draws you effortlessly into very human, very complex atmospheres and moods - a rare skill."



Lisa Matthews

Lisa Matthews

Lisa Matthews was born in Benwell in Newcastle upon Tyne and has lived in the north east all her life. She is a poet, novelist, creative writing tutor and co-founder of the Blue Room, a performance venue for new women writers from the North. Lisa is also a co-founder and continued organiser of proudWORDS, the UK's only creative writing festival run by and for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, for which she also acts as Chair of the management committee.

Currently Writer in Residence at the PEALS Research Institute, Lisa divides her time between her own writing and community work as part of her residency. As well as facilitating writing workshops in the north east to help people explore their hopes and fears surrounding the new genetics and biotechnology, she also works with medical students and staff in Newcastle and Durham Universities, where she uses Literature and creative writing to make trainee doctors better communicators.

What Lisa did next

Lisa took up the post of PEALS Writer in Residence in March 2003 and one of the criteria for the job was that the successful applicant should be a published writer. That Diamond Twig published her first book 6 months prior to this, ensured Lisa fulfilled the person specification on every level. All the teaching, workshop facilitating and literary event organising in the world can't make you a bona fide published-writer.

Lisa's second collection has been inspired by her work at PEALS and is a departure for her in terms of both style and form. The Illustrated Book of Trees is the story of an eighteenth century cross-dressing obsessive doctor of physick who believes trees, flowers and herbs can cure most illness and that some, in the correct quantity and combination, can give extra-human powers like longer and eternal life, sexual prowess, improved memory and mind-reading ability. The doctor becomes obsessed with a local woman, Angeline, whose husband he has secretly murdered with a lethal tincture. The two travel Europe seeking new species of plants and on their journey the doctor comes to realise some shocking facts from his past. Most of the doctor's poems are written in a tight sonnet form, which Lisa is wrestling with at this very moment.

Running parallel to the story of Angeline and the doctor is a contemporary narrative about a western woman trying to locate the missing card from a special deck of cards handed down through her family. This parallel sequence The Fourth King will act as a companion piece to the doctor's sequence. One of the poems On being a small man was published in Mslexia in April 2003.

Lisa says this about:


Having a "real" book published makes all the difference in so many different ways. I now feel more confident calling myself a writer and the success of being published has galvanised me into action and a new work in progress. People I come into contact with view me with extra respect now I've proved I actually can write and am not just saying it because it sounds impressive.

I also spent 2001-2002 as Writer in Residence at BBC Tyne Online and produced a UGC site "Write on Tyne" showcasing the writing of local people and concerning their lives, their histories and narratives. The site was a huge success and with another successful funding bid, we hope to develop our work with a second year of workshops, online publication and events.

Having a book on my writing-CV has taken me forward to the next step of my career and I am proud to be published by Diamond Twig Press, whose policy and products are professional and highly regarded.

My first collection Postcard from a Waterless Lake has been selected for this year's Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, where I have been invited to read from the collection along with three international poets in the "Pamphlet/Early stage of career" category. Aldeburgh is one of the most influential and respected poetry festivals in Europe and without Diamond Twig's faith and support I would not be treading their stage this November.

I also plan to do more work in the scientific, biotechnologies and new genetic fields in the next two years. I plan to lead two major projects about sexuality and spirituality respectively and prospective funders are very welcome to enquire...