“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.

36 pages
ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-9165052-2-3
RRP £6.50

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The Lover

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.
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.


“Varley-Winter has an eye for picking out details which made me pause, reminding me of the delicacy and strangeness of nature [...] Rather like putting a shell up to your ear, you can hear the ocean through the words.”

Nell Prince, Sphinx, full review here

"...the heart is tricky and a witch, and doesn’t always actually know what the heart wants. […] But long “Before birth and death / your hands first touched mine in the dark”, and eventually we find forgiveness and love and purpose on the Blue Peninsula."
Christopher Margolin, The Poetry Question, full review here.

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