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Borzello Trust bequest continues to champion Welsh poets

20 Nov 2022 3 minute read
Pearl & Bone and Mari Ellis Dunning

Welsh Libraries and selected school Sixth Forms across Wales will be receiving copies of Pearl and Bone, the new poetry collection by Mari Ellis Dunning, as the result of a bequest from the The Borzello Trust.

It coincides with Dunning, who was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year for her first collection, Salacia, being selected as Welsh Libraries author of the month in November.

Pearl and Bone explores the complexities of becoming a new mother amidst a global pandemic, with the stories of other mothers interwoven amongst the author’s intimate moments, from pregnancy to childbirth and beyond.

These poems showcase the lost voices of women through history – in the throes of labour, Mary paces the stable; in a dim Soho studio, Christine Keeler poses for the infamous Lewis Morley photographs; while above us, the moon laments the number of feet that have stormed her surface.

In the collection, described as beautiful, emotional and richly imagistic, Mari Ellis Dunning presents mothers in many forms: those experienced, chosen, unwitting, and presumed, asking us to consider the true nuances of motherhood – delicate as pearl, durable as bone.


The Borzello Trust, founded by activist and philanthropist Bob Borzello is continuing with its initiative to support the publication of Welsh poetry and a wider distribution of the new work of Welsh poets.

In recent years the trust has worked with several Welsh poets. In 2015, an anthology of poetry and photographs inspired by aspects of the Conwy valley in north Wales was published by the trust as a result of a poetry residency in the valley.

Poetry Project Manager at the Borzello Trust, Josephine Bacon, said: ’We are delighted to be providing this collection to Welsh libraries. The project kicked off earlier this year with As If To Sing by Paul Henry.

“The second book we are distributing to libraries throughout Wales is Pearl and Bone by Mari Ellis Dunning and we will be supporting a third, Moon Jellyfish Can Hardly Swim by north Wales poet Ness Owen in the Spring.’

Mari Ellis Dunning said: ‘I’m thrilled that Pearl and Bone will be available in libraries across Wales, making it easily accessible to all readers, thanks to the Borzello Trust. I began writing poetry in earnest while I was in sixth form, so having contemporary poetry available to sixth form students is fantastic.’

Pearl and Bone is published by Cardigan-based Parthian Books, who will be celebrating 30 years of independent publishing in Wales in 2023.

Mari Ellis Dunning will be the guest poet at First Thursday, Chapter Arts Centre, 1 December 2022, 7.30pm. This is a hybrid event with tickets available to attend in person or online.

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