Saturday, March 7, 2009


Apple and Eve
- a poem-
Barbara Dordi

Illustrated by
Russi Dordi

Publisher: Picture-Poems
ISBN 0 9536800 0 2

Apple and Eve was launched at the Gibbs Gallery, Canterbury in 1999. As well as copies of the book, the original illustrations: 9 watercolours and 1 oil painting were on display. The exhibition lasted for three weeks.

Apple and Eve takes a wry look inside the Garden of Eden. The poem explores Eve's temptation through a dialogue between Eve and the Serpent.

'I wonder about evil too.
Is it sturdy and gnarled like this tree?
Does it have four heads like the river out of Eden? Is it invisible, like wind? Did God give it perfume like the ripe fruit above me, fat with his secret? Is it soft and warm like flesh, all shades of blue like sky on river; does it flash red and gold in the green like the hummingbird?
Does evil have a voice? Does it coo, babble, moan, shriek? Does it sing - low, high? Does it scream?'

Adam and Eve - watercolour - Russi Dordi

Following the launch, the exhibition was shown at selected libraries throughout Kent.

When our French friends saw Apple and Eve, they loved the illustrations but couldn't understand the text and so asked for a translation - hence Eve et la Pomme - the French version, was born.
Entre-Deux - Two Francophiles in Alaigne, Barbara & Russi Dordi,
Picture Poems/Hayward Design, ISBN 0-9536800-3-7

Barbara & Russi Dordi
photo: Eric Hall

Friday, March 6, 2009

ENTRE DEUX - Two Francophiles in Alaigne

ALAIGNE - Watercolour by Russi Dordi

This book is a record in poems and pictures of our first few years in the small village of Alaigne in the South of France, 30 km from Carcassonne.

Entre-Deux contains over 32 colour illustrations of poems written in English. When the book is turned upside down and back to front, the French translations can be read.

For the last 9 years my husband and I have divided our time between Kent and the south of France where we have renovated an old agricultural building and created a Mediterranean garden. Poems and paintings which emanated from this project have found expression in Entre-Deux – Two Francophiles in Alaigne, written in English and translated into French. The vine-clad hills; conversing with villagers; singing in the local choir; reading and writing poetry in French; country life in the Midi is extremely seductive.

Russi's interpretation of the view of 
LES PICS DES TROIS SEIGNEURS from our terrace in Alaigne.

Extract from Entre-Deux: page 19

Autumn in Alaigne

Changes seep inside you, breaking surface
now and then: greens fading to gold, fading
to copper, fading to rust; vine leaves
are having their tips hennaed. Only when you climb
the hills, the great tablecloth of the Aude
spread before you, are your eyes fully opened:
as if overnight, the alchemist
has emptied his crucible on the landscape,

the magnesium glow of vineyards
his most precious transmutation.
Sunflower land is now neatly combed, her tanned
scalp flecked with flint-sharp bones. Giraffe plane trees
stride the road to the village, roofs and church spire
fast turning rose. And the black silhouettes
of cypresses? Cathar warriors
guarding the peace in the place of the dead.

You want to embrace it, make it a part
of you, this fleeting slot between extremes
that greedily swallows summer warmth,
gulping down whole chunks of daylight
to regurgitate amazing vibrancies.
Under a fading Languedoc sky
you try to capture it on film, on paper,
but the result is always a lie.
Like an arrow in flight, this unstoppable, heart-
stopping mettle that is autumn, has you
scanning your internal landscape,
targeting truth.

Autumn in Alaigne

Entre-Deux - Two Francophiles in Alaigne, Barbara & Russi Dordi, Picture Poems/Hayward Design, ISBN 0-9536800-3-7


"When Barbara and Russi Dordi bought a house in France, their neighbours in the unspoiled village of Alaigne in the Midi were very welcoming. On discovering that the couple were artists, they insisted that they exhibit at the Fête de la Fleur the following May. Barbara was so enamoured by the landscape and people that she had already written a few poems recording her feelings, so since nobody in the village spoke English, she translated the work ready for the exhibition. When Russi had illustrated her poems, the couple made a pamphlet as a convenient way of recording their first year in Alaigne, as well as showing their neighbours exactly how they felt about living in France. The exhibition was a great success, largely due to the portrait of Albert, their immediate neighbour, which is very true-to-life, and of which he is enormously proud, so much so that he invited his relatives from neighbouring villages to view it!
Equinox, September, 2005


Thursday, March 5, 2009


click to enlarge

poems by Barbara Dordi
& Michael Curtis
Russi Dordi

'The result of an unusual and exciting collaboration, Presences is a finely made poetry pamphlet of work....memories, ancestors, 'angels', visions or other metaphysical speculations....The sequence reveals echoes and allusions that spark between the texts. Ten of the poems find colourful and vibrant expression in paintings by Russi Dordi who also designed the cover.




Blurred behind windows
condensation beaded,
tree light wink the promise
of a clear road to Canterbury.

Through lofty stone arches
- no fee to pay today-
red-cheeked clerics mouth
the first seasonal greeting.

Banks of candles flanking the altar
flicker as white frilled choirs file in;
latecomers led in discretely,
the organ rumbling thunder.

At the great west door, a rush of air;
trumpets fanfare the New Arrival;
in his Joseph coat, the archbishop
leads, 'O Come all ye faithful'.

The earnest of prayers,
the topical sermon,
the sign of peace with perfect strangers,
the collect,
the carols,
the soul piercing anthems,
the final blessing
that lasts for a year.

Barbara Dordi


Closing poem:
Barbara Dordi andMichael Curtis


The sheer possibility
is no easy matter
feet on earth
to feathered flight
as if we could do just that.

We stumble, stagger,
then propelled forward, leap
and suddenly we're here
where we always wanted to be –
realising it now,

changing places
as inclination takes us,
savouring sun, relishing shade,
catching balance
on a fledgling wind.

Barbara Dordi and Michael Curtis


This book has proved to be very popular with French readers - especially females - they often come up to me to
say how much they identify with the female perspective of the piece.

- un poème -
Barbara Dordi
Illustré par Russi Dordi
A loose translation of Apple and Eve, Ève et la Pomme is a French version of the English original. The 'events' in this French version are somewhat re-arranged to suit the French language and culture. Translating was an interesting exercise which prompted me to revise the English version.
Extract: page 8

'Comment pourrai je connaître ce qui est bon?

Je m’interroge sur le mal aussi.
Est-il vigoureux et noueux comme cet arbre?
A-t-il quatre têtes commes les fleuves d’Eden?
Est-il invisible et sauvage comme le vent?
Dieu, lui a-t-il donné un parfum comme au fruit mûr au-dessus de moi – si gros avec son secret?
Est il doux et lisse comme la chair,
a-t-il toutes les nuances de bleu comme le ciel sur le fleuve?
Clignote-t-il rouge et or sur la verdure
comme le colibri?
Le mal, a-t-il une voix grave, aiguë?
Roucoule-t-il, babille-t-il, gémit-il, parle-t-il?
Chante-t-il – bas, haut?

Deco Partnership
ISBN 0 9536800 1 0

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Poems by Barbara Dordi
Illustrations by Russi Dordi
Publishers: Pamphlet Poets
Community of Poets Press
Hatfield Cottage
Chilham, Kent

ISBN 1-902529-03-0


Each book is hand sewn, in the pamphlet style of the ninetten twenties and thirties. They are available directly from the publisher or author or any good bookshop.

Extract: Opening poem:


Walk into this other world

feel a thick warmth envelop you

files of folded sheets surround you

experiences washed out

but not away.

Close the door on the outside world

you are free to roam at will

to bathe in waters of past or present

piles of towels here to dry your eyes

if you want it that way.

Hear the silence of enclosed space

punctured only by the gurgling cistern

you can dare all those wild things

warp and weft your only witnesses

in this airy cocoon.


Airing Cupboard, - Poems by Barbara Dordi

Pamphlet Poets, 1999 ISBN 1-902529-03-0 £3.20

"...It is clear to see why this poet has been so consistently published. For me, poetry must, above all, be coherent and accessible. The poems in this collection satisfy such criteria. We get 19 well-written poems from a poet who knows what she wants to say and, as importantly, knows how to say it.

... There is an engaging mixture of allegory and gritty realism, of nostalgia and irony, but all in sensible proportion. Furthermore, the range of styles employed in this collection adds to rather than detracts from the whole".

John Dench,

Writer and Small Press Publisher,

The Providence Press, May 1999

Monday, March 2, 2009


in The Garden
Poems of the
Saxon Shore Way
Barbara Dordi
Russi Dordi

Publisher: Sawd Books
an imprint of Sawd Publications
Suite 62 Bell Road

ME10 4HE
ISBN 1 872489 15 X

Cover design: Russi Dordi

41 poems by Barbara Dordi
10 colour illustrations by Russi Dordi.

This, my first chapbook came into being as a result of walking 140 miles of the Kent coastline from Gravesend to Rye as it allegedly was in Saxon times. I am very grateful to Alison Wainwright of Sawd Books for having the courage to take on this then, unknown writer.

During the 18 months we took to walk the Shore Way, we travelled over 1000 miles by car to and from the start of each section of the walk - there being 10 sections in all (according to the Saxon Shore Way guides produced by the Kent area of the Ramblers Association in co-operation with the Footpaths Section of Kent County Council.) We rarely did circular walks, always opting to get back by bus, train or car (if we were fortunate enough to have friends with us).

It was a fascinating project - showing us parts of the county we would never otherwise have visited, and making us see the Kent we knew in a very different light. We marvelled at the beauty and richness of the country's flora and fauna, and were inspired to delve into Kent's extraordinary history.

We met interesting people from all walks of life who were generous with anecdotes and memories of their unique experience of living and working here.

We enjoyed walking and working together: each privetly being moved by the same experience in different ways, painting sparking off poetry and vice versa, or both going in completely independent directions.

Walking the Saxon Shore way gave us a curious sense of identity with the path as well as a particular familiarity with, and affection for, Kent, our adopted county. I can thoroughly recommend getting out there and experiencing it for yourselves.

Extract: Page 5
Under polystyrene,
under seaweed and shells
of the Thames' high water mark
they lie:
Saxons, invisible,
until we walk their Shore Way.
Above grey stone rubble,
above brambles and weeds
of General Gordon's fort,
bare sky:
Shornmead, demolished
until we think of Khartoum.
In gun emplacements
with misty river views we rest,
in a time warp we take shelter:
soldiers, scarlet-clad,
leap into the day
firing technicolour.

Saxons in the Garden – Poems of the Saxon Shore Way
Barbara Dordi
Sawd Books, 1995.
ISBN 1-872489-15-X £4.95

"...Many characters from Kent’s long history are recalled, from Hengist and Horsa to the Duke of Wellington and General Gordon; literary figures are not overlooked. There is nostalgia for the desecrated and once green open country, and visions of the old barges in full sail as she observes the rotting hulks on the banks and mudflats of the Medway.
Some poems are humorous, even acerbic, but most are ethereal as she paints pictures with her words. The colour illustrations by her husband are both abstract and figurative..."

Brenda Hook
1996, The Ramblers Association
To purchase a copy of Saxons in The Garden please contact the publishers direct - address above.

Bird's Eye View
Sleep, Beauty


Before the spell you wound inland
carried barges to the wooden jetty
and waiting gangers glad of work.
They loaded bricks, hay, cement -
horsedrawn carts wheeled through your mud.

Ambling ways kept you safe
from wind's heavy knife sculpting
pointed waves, in cahoots with the scouring
tide of the Swale without:
your isolation preserved you.

Spell cast, you left no documents
to furnish sea-dog tales; just
the jetty, ghostly silhouette now,
creek silt-sinking under Progress
and five decades before the kiss.