Unbound essay – Is conversation dead?

My essay on the art of conversation has been published by Boundless. Here’s a quote to get you in the mood for reading…

In 1996, Raymond Carver, wrote, ‘There is no God, and conversation is a dying art.’ The quote features in his collected poems, All of Us, that among many things, explores loneliness and isolation. I look at society today, and can’t help think we’re somehow there, in that lonely room without company. And what’s depressing is that it seems to be by choice.

I’m not saying that we are all trapped in a physical space we can’t escape. It’s our thinking to which I’m referring. We seem increasingly isolated from each other, and each other’s minds, and living in this socially disjointed and uninspired way may not only be having an impact of our own sense of self worth, but also our understanding of what it is to be human. 

Read the full article here: https://unbound.com/boundless/2019/02/05/conversation-as-art/

Tweet thoughts @HelenCalcutt

Guardian Opinions – don’t hide your grief from your children

18/12/2018

My new op-ed piece for The Guardian on grief, and parenthood. Here’s a snippet, and you can read the rest here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/18/dont-hide-grief-children-emotional-understanding

The morning I discovered my brother Matthew had died, there was no hiding it. The shock sent me into a volatile state. I threw the phone against the wall, shattering it, then hurled myself into the front room of the house, banging the doors and walls and weeping, while my daughter sat listening at the top of the stairs. Hours later we were at my parents’ house, where everyone in the family had gathered, and over the next 48 hours, she experienced all the sights and sounds of our collective and profound loss.

Unable Mother – review

A new review of  ‘Unable Mother‘ by Victoria Richards, has been published in ‘Arfur’ this month.  

Extract:

Reviewing Helen Calcutt’s glorious collection, Unable Mother, feels a little like reading the diary of a close friend, a letter to myself, or the delicate and kaleidoscopic thoughts of the many women I’ve walked, talked and cried with since we were bonded by one single, cataclysmic event – birth. And this, too, is a birth. Unable Mother is an unfinished poem, the author tells us, whose trace threads through the whole collection.

The physical act of birth is savage and haunting in ‘White almond’ – the pain of the body “widening at the shoulders, a consistency of skins”, the biting body words of “sweat” and “cunt” and “coccyx flung wide open”. The final, transition phase of labour “stings” and “pulses” and I felt my heart racing along with the stanzas as I remembered the vividity of the burning (“I throw my arms to the sun”), the unalterable change (“my twenty-odd years fall away with old lungs”), the “apex”, the “everywhere white”. That “old way-of-doing-things heart” is scarred forever. And yet, I found myself returning again and again to the start of the poem: “We fit near perfect.”’

You can read full review here

Purchase your copy of Unable Mother at any of these outlets:

PBS Website: https://www.poetrybooks.co.uk/products/unable-mother-helen-calcutt

V. Press: http://vpresspoetry.blogspot.com/p/unable-mother.html

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/unable-mother/helen-calcutt/9781999844400