Unable Mother


Unable Mother
Unable Mother V.Press

Unable Mother

‘I hide – yet I open my mouth to the light.
I hurt
the people I love…’ 

In this bold and breathtaking first collection of poems, Helen Calcutt exposes the painful and the beautiful experience of new motherhood. Her poems are torch-lit with violent and tender experience, sung from the body, and cast through a unique metaphoric lens.  With honesty, and visceral beauty, these poems bear witness to the darkness and the growth we find in  transformation, and what happens when a new life enters the world.

Previews and Praise

“This work challenges our abstract and cosy notions of motherhood with a brutal and vulnerable delve into the psyche. Calcutt grapples, sometimes violently, sometimes with aching tenderness, each hard-won line “like squeezing/flesh and fruit from the  bone,/this terrible love”. This is an intimate book, the kind that comes in close to your ear to whisper dark secrets and unavoidable truths. These poems are spare, careful, insistent – and devastatingly good.”  Robert Peake author of The Knowledge

Helen Calcutt’s poems are full of surprising and intricate moments – they unfold like origami, deftly packing and unpacking themselves into new forms and presenting the reader with confidences, secrets and insight, the tender words for the things that are hard to say. In their explorations of motherhood, loss and discovery, Calcutt’s poetry is steeled with precise language, always finding clarity forged in the heart of experience.  These are intimate poems which are felt in the body, and written with a keen physicality – “love is meant to live on in the body” writes Calcutt, “My flesh making heaven of it.” In their makings and re-makings, each poem here reveals this to be a remarkable and potent debut. Jane Commane editor at Nine Arches Press

Now available to pre-order for £9.99 from V.Press (published September 4th 2018)