Celebrating femininity and empathy through images and words

Our Books (in chronological order of publishing date)

From the back cover of Oy Yew by Ana Salote:

‘Lay low and grow,’ is the motto of the waifs of Duldred Hall. The only way to escape their life of drudgery is to reach the magical height of 5 thighs 10 oggits. But Master Jeopardine is determined to feed them little and keep them small.When the master’s methods grow more sinister the waifs must face their doubts. What is kept in the Bone Room? Why is Rook’s parlour locked? A new waif arrives and the fight for survival begins. But this child brings another mystery: who is Oy?

The waifs will grab your heart from page one and not let go. This book entertains on so many levels. Charles Kinglsey meets Jasper Fforde with shades of Gormenghast.

Fiona Faith Ross, author

Destined to be a classic. Jeopardine’s decline into horrific madness offers readers of all ages the same thrill as Dahl’s Child Catcher.

Helen Baggott (read-reviewed.com)

 

Oy Yew (RRP £7.99) can be ordered from our store here

 

 

From the back cover of Hearth by Sarah James and Angela Topping:

In Hearth, prize-winning poets Sarah James and Angela Topping join forces for an exciting sequence of paired poems which echo and interrogate each other, finding shared ground and surprising connections.

Home, memory and commonality are explored through objects that often surround our living spaces, our hearths, our hearts. Opening and closing with collaborative poems, the poets’ two voices come together, part and come together again.

From old fires that ‘spark and flame’ to ‘the heart of a secret’ and ‘silenced tongues’, the sequence picks out the people, places and things that shape our lives. The dialect of everyday jostles alongside the influences of Shakespeare, Ted Hughes’ Crow and Mrs Beeton. There are shared words, music and dancing, but beware also of the sharp sting of pins, ‘shadow wolves’ and falling.

Sarah and Angela’s jointly-written poem ‘Crow Lines’, taken from Hearth, was highly commended in Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s Compound Poem competition. (2015)

 

James’ and Topping’s poetry duet explores ideas of home through memories and objects from childhood. Crows, sewing and laundry lines are recurring images; “The sister I never met hangs out my sheets” (The Washing Line, James) and “small acts of love, pinned up with such hope of drying” (Spring Lines, Topping) with a nod to Larkin and Hughes, amongst others...

…These poems conjure safe, hard-working family childhoods. There is nostalgia but not the syrupy it-was-all-rosy-then nostalgia. It’s the sort that says we are older but we carry memories to pass down; a solid ground from which our families spring upward into a future distance far beyond us…

…Hearth is a gentle, accurate, evocative duet… 

Myfanwy Fox, Fox Unkennelled

 

Hearth (RRP £5.00) can be bought from our store here

 


 

From the back cover of The Forgotten and the Fantastical, edited by Teika Bellamy:

In this beguiling collection of fairy tales for an adult audience there is both the familiar and the unfamiliar. Here you will find modern twists on old favourites such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Pinocchio’ and ‘The Dream of Akinosuke’, as well as reinterpretations of ‘The Mermaid of Zennor’ and Arthurian legend. Original fiction has its place here too, with characters so vivid that they will continue to haunt you long after their stories have been read.

Features new writing by:

Rebecca Burland, Becky Cherriman, Tomas Cynric, Barbara Higham, CM Little, NJ Ramsden, Lisa Shipman, Marija Smits and Lindsey Watkins.

 

 

‘Enchanting, fascinating, alchemical - writing that pulls at the threads of well-known stories. But these are not just the familiar tropes, tales of morality, or social commentary: these are symbolic events that are transformed and empowered by writers who have allowed the story to filter through their own experiences. These stories bring the tradition of oral storytelling onto the page - and into the present.’

Alison Lock

 

The Forgotten and the Fantastical (RRP £8.99) can be bought from our store here
 

 

From the back cover of The Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize Anthology 2013: PARENTING, edited by Teika Bellamy:

This anthology of poetry and prose brings together all the winning and commended pieces of the 2013 Mother's Milk Books Writing Prize. It features winning writing from: Stephanie Arsoska, Alison Bond McNally, Cathy Bryant, Anna Burbidge, Dawn Clarke, Jordan Clarke, Lanora Clarke, Clare Cooper, Susan Cooper, Jan Dean, Helen Goldsmith, Barbara Higham, Sarah James, Kimberly Jamison, Alison Jones, Sharon Larkin, Helen Lloyd, Rachel McGladdery, Alison Parkes, Julia Prescott, Lindsey Watkins, Abigail Wyatt.

 

 

 

It is fantastic to know what a fruitful subject parenthood can be and also to read so many beautiful poems which include breastfeeding and its joys.

Poetry judge, Angela Topping

A fabulous collection; all the pieces sit beautifully together. -

Prose judge, Susan Last

 

The Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize Anthology: PARENTING (RRP £8.99) can be bought from our store here

 


 

Front cover of 'Look At All The Women' by Cathy BryantFrom the back cover of Look At All The Women by Cathy Bryant:

Look at all the women! What a waste of time / life would be without them.

Women are everywhere and doing everything – fighting the Nazis, breastfeeding babies, falling in love (or at least tripping over it), feeling embarassed, inventing new passionate positions or, in our myths, flying to the moon or singing sailors to their doom. These poems capture their voices in a variety of forms, sometimes with bite and sometimes with a gleeful grin.

Witty, tender and sometimes outraged, Cathy Bryant’s second collection tackles the way women are treated in today’s society. Heroines are singled out; the various stages of womanhood celebrated. Bryant enjoys using rhyme to emphasise a point but is equally at home in free verse. Her work is accessible, unafraid and engaging.

Angela Topping, poet, literary critic and author

Cathy’s poetry does a double-take on the world, with humour and always with compassion.

Rosie Garland, poet and author

 

Look At All The Women (RRP £8.99) can be ordered from our store here

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Cover of 'Letting Go' by Angela ToppingFrom the back cover of Letting Go by Angela Topping:

But they learn to walk away / like any other guest

Love is about letting go. This notion threads its way throughout Angela Topping’s new selection. She writes tenderly and movingly about childhood, growing up, bereavement and parenthood. These are frank, honest and moving poems arranged in an unfolding narrative which reaches out to the reader, wanting to share and engage.

 

The poems of Letting Go engage the reader with their shaped sense of familial experience. In clear and crafted language the poet opens a heart-door on the pluses and minuses of life, revealing the flow of time and love through the generations. A beautifully judged collection. 

Penelope Shuttle, poet and author

Angela Topping’s poems tug at the threads of motherhood and daughterhood, and lay bare the complicated business of family. They speak of what sometimes can’t be said — when words are rags. These are gentle, honest poems that honour the small sorrows and joys of everyday lives. It is impossible to resist the power of such tender declarations of love.

Martin Figura, poet, teacher and photographer

 

Letting Go (RRP £8.99) can be bought from our store here

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'Musings on Mothering' book coverFrom the back cover of Musings on Mothering, edited by Teika Bellamy:

Many women have found motherhood to be a creatively rich time, and Musings on Mothering is a glorious testament to that creativity. Here you’ll find poetry and art of various styles, alongside craftwork and prose; all inspired by the timeless theme of mothering. The contributors (mothers, fathers, children, professional and amateur) have captured and distilled the essence of their experiences or reflections on mothering, producing an anthology of great passion. Their work has the power to make the reader laugh, cry, consider, or smile in recognition. Most of all it gives cause to muse on mothering.

Wherever you are on your parenting path, you will find a lovingly-created “something” on one of these pages that will speak to you. Musings on Mothering is a much-needed exploration into the realm of mothering, and as such, it maps out a multifaceted picture of motherhood which is as intricate as it is beautiful.

A heartfelt and honest collection of art, poetry, and prose from all around the world; its celebration of mothers and motherhood (and fathers!) is moving and deeply human.

Lois Rowlands, Publications Director of La Leche League GB

 

Musings on Mothering (RRP £13.99) can be bought from our store here

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Some excerpts from the book:

 

Four a.m. feed


Beyond the window

Apple boughs sign, frame a moon

Circled in ice. Frost

Whitens a pond, but here all

Is warmth, a cocoon of peace.


PAULINE KIRK

 

An extract from ‘A Letter for When You Are Grown’

…I love feeding you, I really do. I always knew that I wanted us to breastfeed. I looked forward to it with nervous excitement, not quite sure how we’d master our new skill but confident we’d get there somehow. I trusted you to know what to do, just the same as you trusted me. Together we would find our way…

…Now as the months swiftly pass we are still going strong. I never imagined we would get this far and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Our breastfeeding journey is the most magical and intimate experience of my life. I’m so proud to be sharing this with you and so grateful to you for giving me this chance. Nothing has ever made me feel so special and right. It’s empowering yet humbling; the most important and worthwhile thing I have ever done yet so enjoyable and effortless at the same time. Nursing you fulfils me at such a deep level that I eagerly drink in every second of this blissful experience while you do the same taking your fill at my breast. It’s like time stops and for those few minutes it’s just you and me in the world. Our little pauses, day and night, where we drop out of reality and into our special warm cocoon of perfection. Connected in all sense of the word whilst we both recharge our spirits…


DAWN CLARKE


The Cold Cup of Tea

An already-cold cup of builder’s strength tea
Is sat by the sink, and saying to me:
‘I’m delicious, delightful, so drink me up do!’
But I’m knee-deep in nappies, and children, and poo;
So call me again when I’ve sorted this mess
And have time to relax, and unwind and de-stress…

*

Later, much later, when the kids are asleep,
In my nightie and slippers I quietly creep
To the kitchen, and there is that cold cup of tea,
Still delicious, still delightful, and still waiting for me…


MARIJA SMITS

Young mother in the fabric souq by Kathy Grossman

Motherhood


Six months ago
I first put on
my motherhood.

It felt strange at first,
weighing heavy
on my head
and on my shoulders.
I worried how it looked
to others.
Did I wear it right?

Gradually,
I felt more
and cared less.
I caught my reflection
in my daughter’s eye.
It looked good.

Six months ago
I first put on
my motherhood.
It suits me.

I forget what I looked like
without it.


JESSICA STARR

 

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