Julia Casterton was very active in the poetry world, particularly in London – she worked for Ambit, she taught creative writing, she wrote books on writing poetry, she went to readings and events, and her poems appeared in many magazines.
I was astonished to discover that, although there’d been pamphlets, she’d not had a full collection published. The Doves of Finisterre won the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and her reading at the next year’s festival was a triumph. This book is now out of print.
Julia died in 2007 after a markedly long and courageous battle with ill health. Her friends Martina Evans and Judy Gahagan have made a book, Night Lightning, out of the poems that Julia was working on at the time of her death and a selection of earlier poems, many of them rescued from old issues of magazines.
In the Forward Martin Bax and Judy write of the “freedom and risk” in the new poems and Night Lightning is a book to learn from – for a writer from the sheer confidence of her technique, for a human being from Julia’s expertise on life. Although there’s a lot about love and loss in this book, subjects that she knew well, it is above all else a celebration.
Michael Mackmin, poet and editor
‘How will we live in our bird-selves, our flower-selves?
Quickly, easily, every mistake the next becoming.’
The Rialto’s memorial collection ‘Night Lightning’ by Julia Casterton is available here
The Rialto’s First Collection ‘The Doves of Finisterre’ by Julia Casterton is out of print.