“My favourite way to read these poems – and there are many – is to pay attention to what the light is doing. In Varley-Winter’s hands, it’s always up to something interesting: filling a glass or a pear, say, or reviving the dead. It emanates from spectres or screens, and makes cameos in grease or chrome or crystal. It makes alterations: horns and feathers come and go; myth invades a city park; love arrives in a deluge. Here’s a gifted technician at work, and you feel the scope of her gift most sharply when she pulls into abrupt focus on intricate forms (shell, moth, burr), or in a gorgeous turn. The total effect is something like a series of mirrors tilted slightly off their planes: a vitreous gallery of rich, uncanny poems, crisscrossed with slant perspectives.” Abigail Parry
“Heroines is about the everyday in the fantastical – bored damsels, witches living on cliff edges, and the Lady of Shallot scrolling through unsolicited ‘sword pics’ – but the fantastical is also in the everyday, and some of my favourites here are Rebecca’s incredibly tender and expansive poems on heartbreak, love and loss. With influences ranging from Apollinaire to Audre Lorde, Heroines is a great debut from this young poet, a gentle network of strong characters.” Alex MacDonald
Heroines: On the Blue Peninsula is very vibrant and very tender.
A sample poem from the pamphlet can be found below.
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-9165052-2-3
Morning a warm hand on her spine
she watches him by the flooded river
thick with crucial information
such as: he loves her
and it must be clandestine.
It must be against the rules
to love someone and be loved back,
there’s no story, oh no, the king or someone
opposes their union. This can’t happen.
Huge owls stare her down
and herds of camels trail past him into the house
but he’s untroubled by them.
She yells HOW DID ALL THESE CAMELS
GET IN HERE? I DIDN’T PLAN THIS
as he smiles and leads them away
with such kindness.
There’s a nestling pit
at the base of her ribs, it’s really terrible,
she can’t keep still, lying in the longest grass
hardly daring to look at him, her hands fidgeting
as his eyes soak in the smallest traces of her mind
where even the worst mud is touched and sinks
into the strata of time
where it will never fully recover.
HEROINES: ON THE BLUE PENINSULA - London Poetry Party & Launch
Date: Sunday 12 May
Venue: The Harrison Pub (28 Harrison St, Kings Cross, London WC1H 8JF - 6 mins walk from King's Cross, London), downstairs.
Admission: Free, but bring ££ if you would like to buy a copy of Heroines (£6.50) or give a donation for guest readers.
Fancy Dress (optional): Dress up as your heroine. If averse to fancy dress, be your own heroine (come as yourself).
Guest poets will also read a poem *about* one of their heroines or *by* one of their heroines. As well as Becky Varley-Winter, the line-up includes Abigail Parry, Amy Cutler, Amy Evans Bauer, Astra Papachristodoulou, Edmund Hardy, Emma Hammond, Fran Lock, Iris Colomb, Jonathan Catherall, Jon Stone, Kirsten Irving, Mendoza / Linus Slug / Tommy Peeps, Nisha Ramayya, Ollie Evans, Rebecca Wigmore, Rishi Dastidar, Robert Martin Denis Kiely, Nell Prince, Kat Peddie and Tim Wells.