Thursday 27 June 2019

Featured Poet: Helen Calcutt

Helen Calcutt's poetry and criticism has featured in publications including the Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Brooklyn Review, and Southbank Poetry. Her debut pamphlet Sudden rainfall was published by Perdika Press in 2014. It was a PBS Choice. Her full-length collection, Unable Mother, described as 'a violent and tender grapple with our cosy notions of motherhood' (Robert Peake) was published by V. Press in September 2018. It was re-created into a dance-theatre performance, and then into short film, by Redstorm Productions under the title Naked.

Helen was awarded a professional development grant from Arts Council England to write her second poetry collection A mountain that is your grief you can't utter in April 2019. She is creator and editor of acclaimed anthology, Eighty-Four (Verve Press, 2019), a book of verse on the subject of male suicide, grief, and hope. It was shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards 2019.  Helen is also successful dancer and choreographer, working with a specialism in the conversation between text and movement. She also works as a tutor and mentor for the likes of Poetry By Heart, Writing West Midlands, and The Poetry School, and is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Loughborough University. Her website is:

Below you can read a poem from her collection, Unable Mother


This stable feels like a boat. Its roof rocks the hollow. 
There are windows on every side, concealed.  
Though it feels like a heart exposed, 
if hearts are water.
There are horses hanging like oars. 
The darkest pool touches their eyes, 
where their lives are suspended. 
My hands are trembling. 
I imagine they’re wings. That my mind could navigate 
the darkest crossing, 
if these crossings were waters, 
or a drowned field –

and by field, I mean
the resting place of my daughter. 
The animal world that keeps her, 
before I wake her.  

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