The Beautiful Open Sky

The Beautiful Open Sky opens with an extraordinary run of poems, heartbreaking and precise, about the damage done by a narcissistic mother. As it progresses, the poems accumulate symbols, becoming increasingly phantasmagorical, before the patterns of a new life emerge as if through broken cloud.  It works as a story, direct and emotional, but is also a meditation on how we remember – on the limits of reason and metaphor as ways of understanding the past. This is a fine model for a pamphlet: a focused set of beautiful poems, cunningly arranged, which draw power from each other. A wonderful debut.” 
Tom Sastry

“Truths are slippery and sometimes sinister in this stunning exploration of familial relationships by Hannah Linden. It can be hard to know who to trust, or who is parenting whom. But there is beauty here too, and a positivity that shines through despite the odds. Self-reflective and superb, Linden’s use of language is playful and imaginative. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Julia Webb

The Beautiful Open Sky is very past and very present. 


ISBN: 978-1-7398838-1-2

36 pages

R.R.P. £6.50

A sample poem can be enjoyed below.

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The Beautiful Open Sky (with p&p options)

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Snow-born to a drift of a girl.
My hand: her hand, HER hand.

My hand is a doll. Bend this way
bend that. Build snow-men—

coals for their eyes, the bruise
of their stares: boys that are men.

Girl drifts into woman. Mother 
me, she sighs; sister me the winter.

Grow. Don't grow. Pick a flower
for a self. Be a bulb in a cupboard.

Bloom me for Christmas. Sip of nectar
that sits with a view of the yard.

Home is the vinegar bottom of a jar.
She births more children, neighbours, sherbets

dipped bitter with liquorice. Today she wants me
film-star, cat-suited in red. Find me a song

she hasn't sung. She jived them orange.
She has rhythm but no time.

She catalogued me a fable, said you will
understand when you are a mother.

Listen to Hannah read her poem 'Mindstrap' here:


"[...]Hannah Linden’s pamphlet is full of love, compassion and insight. Her use of language is colloquial yet rich and deep. This is a wonderful debut pamphlet from a poet with many more books inside her. Its first print run sold out within a week!"
Rachael Clyne, London Grip, full review here.

"[...] this impressive debut chapbook [...] Her mix of graphic imagery – ‘the sunk pits’ for example – within an exploration of thought and feeling has a genuine link to what I’m going to call confessional poetry, something which is increasingly difficult to pull-off post Lowell and Plath, especially given the internet overload of such material, but it works here very effectively. It’s that combination I think of thought and feeling which does the trick and the careful use of language[...]"
Steve Spence, Litter Magazine, full review here.

"In The Beautiful Open Sky Hannah Linden shows us the nature of a childhood presided over by a mother who is unfit, and unable to nurture her children. I was astonished how quickly I became immersed in this world. [...]The poems work like a prism splitting the experience of this childhood into a spectrum of graphic images. They draw on fantastic myths and fairy tales as well as details of a working-class Lancastrian background. The language is always simple, penetrating, gets straight to the point, but there is a shift, subtle at first, a sense of the narrator getting a perspective on the situation and preparing to move on [...]"
Anne Bailey, OPOI, Sphinx, full review here.

"The Beautiful Open Sky is a poetry collection that takes leaps and bounds through an emotive and somber narrative that enrobes the reader in a sense of suffering far beyond what may ever be considered normal. What a powerful, sorrowful read of suffering crafted most exquisitely."
A.R.ArthurFull House Literary, full review here.

"In The Beautiful Open Sky, also published by V. Press, Hannah Linden shows what it is for a child to be emotionally abandoned by her mother. As the work unfolds, Linden reveals the later struggles of that grown child, a single mum making a life with her family in social housing. Offsetting the serious subject matter is the poet's quirky humour. A haunting and tender study of resilience."

Robin Blackburn McBridehere.

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