Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1952, of English and Dutch-Indonesian parents, Frances Presley spent her childhood in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and finally in Somerset. She grew up in the country and had freedom to roam, although the agribusiness was already changing the landscape.
Her defining moment in poetry came in 1969 when she first read Ezra Pound’s “Lustra.’” Her poetic and political interests developed as an undergraduate in the 70s at the University of East Anglia, studying American literature and history. She spent a year in the United States at Franklin & Marshall College and studied contemporary American poetry. Her MA thesis at the University of Sussex compared Ezra Pound and Guillaume Apollinaire, and their response to the visual arts. It was followed by research in modern French poetry and surrealism at the University of Neuchatel. Returning to UEA, she completed a critique of the contemporary French poet Yves Bonnefoy, and of “logocentrism” in French poetry.
BOOKS OF POETRY
The Sex of Art (London: North and South, 1988): Hula Hoop (London: Other Press, 1993); Porous [art book by Irma Irsara, with words by Frances Presley] (London: Irma Irsara, 1995); Linocut (London: Oasis, 1997); Private writings (Exeter, England: Maquette, 1998); Neither the One Nor the Other [a collaboration with the Elizabeth James ( London: Form Books, 1999; [CD also available]); Automatic Cross Stitch [collaboration with artist Irma Irsara] (London: Other Press, 2000); Somerset Letters (London: Oasis, 2002); Paravane: New and Selected Poems 1996 – 2003 (Cambridge, England: Salt, 2004); Myne: new and selected poems and prose 1976 - 2005 (Exeter, England: Shearsman, 2006)