Discover the rural valleys of the Cévennes through a reading and discussion by Franco-Scottish poet Sharon Black, whose latest collection The Red House (Drunk Muse Press, 2022) explores life in this remote and sparsely populated area of France.
La Maison Rouge (‘The Red House’) was the last silk spinning mill in France, an industry which reached its peak there in 1853 and ended in 1965 when this mill closed its doors for the final time. It is now a museum of Cévenol life.
Using artefacts in the museum as starting points, the poems in The Red House explore the history and culture of this remote region, which RL Stevenson crossed in 1878, often comparing it with rocky, heather-filled areas of Scotland, and recounting his journey in Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. Sharon has lived in the heart of the Cévennes since 2001, and weaves her own experiences as an incomer through this narrative. She weaves in too the lives of her neighbours and people who live there today – goat herders, smallholders, odd jobbers, restaurateurs, hunters, foresters: taciturn yet with a deep sense of community and communion with the land. These poems draw out their stories, and with them, our own relationships with time and place.
Sharon will also be happy to discuss the making of her poetry collection, and the project as a whole, as well as answering any questions.