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Unable Mother Book Launch

  • Waterstones Bookshop 24-26 High Street Birmingham, England, B4 7SL United Kingdom (map)

Waterstones Birmingham are delighted to present the upcoming launch of Helen Calcutt's debut poetry collection 'Unable Mother', published with V.Press.

Join Helen, and two of her favourite women poets, Claire Walker (V.Press) and Izzy Galleymore (Carcaent) for an unforgettable evening of poetry, celebrating themes of womanhood, transformation, and new life.

Book signings will follow the reading. Along with refreshments of wine, beers, coffees, teas, and cake. 

About 'Unable Mother'

"It's getting predictable to say that V.Press clearly know what they're doing when it comes to producing beautiful and important poetry books, but this debut collection from Helen Calcutt is something very special even by their standards." Mike Davies

“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.

Sample poem 'The Listening Tree'

Copies are now available to pre-order: 
Helen's website: 

Earlier Event: September 6
Poetry Jam
Later Event: September 21
Verve Poetry Press Launch - Rupinder Kaur