Raising Lazarus

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I wrote a letter…

Letter writing has somewhat gone out of fashion today having been replaced by emails. I don’t know about you, but I still get a bit of a thrill when a letter arrives, not one from a bank or some other formal organisation, and especially if there’s an indication that it’s handwritten or done on what I call an old ‘tick tick typewriter’. Believe it or not, TSL sometimes gets such letters as a few of our authors have avoided all things technology-oriented which arrived after the old ‘tick tick’ machine. We’ve also had to get manuscripts re-typed so they can used in the electronic age – and can you imagine trying to explain how marketing now works through social media to people who have no idea of what the internet looks like, let alone anything like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest? This is digressing, back to letters.

I’m not a great fan but was taken with the frank honesty of Vanessa’s letter to her brother when I was looking up some links for Great Barn Poetry which had been run by Hillingdon Libraries in 2017. Vanessa seemed to capture the essence of sibling relationships and inspired this post.
I’m wondering though if I shouldn’t change my statement about not being a great poetry fan to rather say, ‘I’m not a great reader of poetry’ because hearing poetry read or recited brings it alive in a way my reading of it fails. So, here’s a Youtube performance of A Letter to You by Vanessa Kisuule.
Then in 2018, I discovered Kat Francois who summed up a day’s conference talks on the First World War in Africa in a poem at the end of the day – wow. (Kat has subseqently published with TSL the play about her relative Lazarus who served in Africa during the First World War – it includes poetry and mention of letters).

I’ve never read any of Maya Angelou’s work but know that many people regard her writing as significant and I’ve been taken with the odd quote attributed to her, so it seems appropriate to include her third book of 28 essays written to the daughter she never had, Letter To My Daughter (2009), in this post.

Twenty years earlier, in 1988, Kurt Vonnegut felt the need to write a letter to the people living in 2088. Nearly thirty years from when he wrote the letter, we seem to have stagnated or perhaps even regressed. Will those in 2088 be thinking the same or will a difference have been made?

TSL books which feature letters (or more like emails) include:
Anna Ryland – A Second Chance
Sue Hampton – Woken
Leslie Tate – Love’s Register

And here’s a selection of poetry by TSL authors in case your appetite for poetry was whet:

first published 14 June 2017, updated 2024

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Kat François

About Kat François

Kat François is a performance artist, educator, director, writer and creative arts coach. She was the first person to win a televised poetry slam in the UK, on BBC3 in 2004, and a year later went on to win the World Slam Poetry Championships in Rotterdam. Kat continues to teach and perform globally.

Find out more about Kat on her website

Books by Kat