‘I hide – yet I open my mouth to the light.
the people I love…’
(published September 4th 2018)
In this bold and breathtaking first collection of poems, Helen Calcutt exposes the painful and beautiful experience of new motherhood. Indeed, this dualism of pain/beauty finds a common ground. A single river of deeply felt experience, sung from the body, and torch-lit with a desire to confess. With honesty and visceral beauty, this collection bears witness to both the darkness and light we find in transformation, especially 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