Poetry in exile, the poetry book connecting a war refugee with Nottinghamshire poets

A Nottingham poetry group aiming to ‘cultivate spaces where individuals could freely express themselves’ has released its first book. 

Notts Poetry, hosted by Taylor Riley, have released their first book ‘Poetry From Exile’. 

The collection of poems reflects the othering of Austrian outcast Maria Lazar who was exiled in the 1930s for her anti-fascist views and the othering that still exists in the modern world due to people’s cultures and religions. 

Kathleen Dunmore, the Granddaughter of Maria and author of ‘Poetry From Exile’, only opened Maria’s books in December 2021. 

“I didn’t meet my Grandmother in any way until I was 65.” 

Kathleen also shared how she feels the alienation of people still exists today. 

“I found when I started reading Maria’s poems at refugee week in Nottingham in 2022 the response was that’s how we feel too. 

“That’s why I tried to make it a collective book rather than ‘This is Maria Lazar’. 

She continued: “It is Maria Lazar but in the context that she speaks for humanity – Maria’s poetry speaks from the heart and I adore it” 

On the effect of Nottinghamshire and the poetry scene, Kathleen added: 

Maria Laza, photo provided by Kathleen Dunmore.

“A huge thanks to the people of Nottingham; Nottingham is a place where it’s okay to be different. 

“Nottingham has made this book possible.” 

Veronika Zwerger a curator of the Austrian Library of Exile, a library in Vienna housing many of Maria’s writings and collecting artefacts by people exiled during the Nazi’s dictatorship, told of the effect her work has on her. 

“It’s quite hard to deal with very difficult stories and it’s often very emotional. 

“From time to time I do have the feeling that what I’m doing does make a difference, for me, it is more than a job.” 

In her later years, Maria suffered from a rare pituitary condition called Cushing’s Syndrome which pushed her to suicide after her condition developed. 

All proceeds from the book will go to the Pituitary Foundation which works to help people suffering from pituitary conditions to live well. 

To buy the book contact Kathleen by email tredragon2@btinternet.com 

The next Notts Poetry event is on December 14 at the Cock and Hoop in Nottingham. 

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