the clearing


the clearing is a minimalist poetic sequence written by Luke Thompson and illustrated by Mairead Dunne. The poetry is a meditation on anxiety, hope and fear, displaced into the contained space of a clearing in the woods and into the birds themselves, who vocalise the disquiet as they pass into and out of the clearing. Using folklore and religious symbolism, these tiny illuminated moments begin to suggest broader themes and narratives. Mairead Dunne’s illustrations interact with these themes brilliantly. Experimenting with lenses and with negative space, Mairead’s work reflects and reveals the narrative, highlighting the sense of reader as voyeur, as well as developing the symbolism and ambience of the poetry.

Every copy of the clearing is unique, the cover birds having been individually hand-stamped by Mairead. The paper has been sourced from G.F. Smith and the book was litho printed at Booth’s of Penryn.

“A bewitching collaboration between artist Mairead Dunne and poet Luke Thompson, the clearing examines the characters of birds and the relationships between them as different species cross the clearing and vanish into the dark woods. This is a beautiful book that appeals to the senses: the shadows and muted tones in Dunne’s photographs contrast with the sharp observation of Thompson’s writing, in particular an uncanny ability to evoke birdsong and flight patterns.”

Nancy Campbell

Winner of the 2016 Michael Marks award for illustrated poetry



Icon By Charlie Sherratt