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Stansfield poet Derek Adams' new book inspired by the life of famous photographer, and World War II correspondent Lee Miller

The latest book by Stansfield-based poet Derek Adams reveals the inner conflict of a famous photographer.

EXPOSURE – Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller focuses on the extraordinary life of the American photographer Lee Miller, model, muse, photographer and WW2 war correspondent.

The poems do not form a comprehensive biography, but rather an album of snapshots taken from events in Lee Miller’s life, her photographs and well known artworks she inspired.

Derek Adams with his book EXPOSURE – Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller. Contributed picture
Derek Adams with his book EXPOSURE – Snapshots from the life of Lee Miller. Contributed picture

A professional photographer himself, Derek has spent several years meticulously researching the life story of Lee Miller.

He said: “Exposure has been a real labour of love in the making. The first of these poems was originally published in Magma Poetry magazine in 2004.

“Around 50 per cent of the poems were written in 2014 as part of the portfolio for an MA in Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and the rest have been written between then and now.”

The book is published on October 1 by Dempsey & Windle, after a selection of the poems were shortlisted in the 2019 Brian Dempsey Memorial Pamphlet Competition.

The collection has already garnered considerable praise.

Antony Penrose, the son of Lee Miller, said: “Derek Adams’ poetry gives us both the nuance and the power of Lee Miller’s personality.

“His insightful lines connect her talent as a surrealist artist and her achievements as war correspondant to the vulnerable person within who secretly bore the scars of child abuse and wartime traumas.

“I regard this book as a perceptive and touching portrait of my mother.”

Michael Laskey, poet and a founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, said: “More than the sum of its parts, Derek Adams’ engaging sequence of fast-moving, sharply focused poems offers vivid and memorable insights into Lee Miller and her extraordinary life and times.”

Jean Sprackland, poet and Professor of Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “These are vivid and compassionate poems which make an imaginative leap right into Lee Miller’s extraordinary life, and take the reader with them.”

Lee Miller has been the subject of two recent major exhibitions in the UK: Lee Miller: A Woman’s War at the Imperial War Museum, London in 2015-16, and Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain at The Hepworth Wakefield in 2018

Derek helps run Poetry Aloud in Bury St Edmunds, is a Trustee of the Suffolk Poetry Society and for many years was an organiser of the Essex Poetry Festival.

He has previously published two pamphlets and a collection of poetry and was BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year in 2006.

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