The Divers, Arabella Currie 

Illustrations for a poetry collection | The Divers by Arabella Currie


Published by Hurst Street Press in 2016, The Divers is a debut collection of poetry by Arabella Currie. Arabella's background in Classics is interwoven through her poems, both explicitly in her translation ‘exercises’, and implicitly in her choice of image and metre. This lends the poems a timelessness that draws the ancient world onto the contemporary political stage.

I drew the illustrations, a letterpress block for the inside cover, and a map which was included as an acetate pull-out in the centre of the book. The drawings were inspired by the fragmented brevity of Arabella’s poetic form, while the consistent themes of antiquity, cultural disharmony and faith drew me towards architecture of cultural significance: both church and state.

For more insight into the editorial design, see The Divers: Editorial


The Divers was reviewed by Deidre Hines in Sabotage Review.

The Divers ranges across ancient and contemporary subjects with a haunting mixture of learning and lucidity. Arabella Currie’s light, pitch-perfect touch with myth and imagery takes on the weightiest subjects: Oedipus and Antigone, Belsen, Hiroshima. But she also Captures the modern everyday with the same sense of occasion. The book is a beautiful physical object, fitting for the work of this hugely accomplished and compelling young poet.’

– Bernard O’Donoghue

‘Small press debuts can play a vitally important and often a disproportionately large part in the making of a poet. That first stepping stone towards the far shore is reached not so much by a step as by a leap of faith by the publisher. Hurst Street Press are to be congratulated on putting their money where Arabella Currie’s mouth is and doing so with fine craft.

The poems here at their best show clearly that their author has both an ear and an eye, and a dramatising capacity, a flare for interiors, all spare and as clear-eyed as were the Ancient Greeks, in whose literature Ms Currie is a trained expert. I look forward to seeing her in full stride in due course and to the day when The Divers becomes a sought-after collector’s item.’

– Andrew McNeillie