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Helen Burke

Helen Burke was born in Doncaster, 1953, and started writing poetry in the 1970s. Since then she has amassed an impressive record of competition victories, including the Manchester International, the Suffolk Poetry Prize, and the Ilkley Literature Performance Poetry Prize (twice). Her work has been published in Rialto, New Welsh Review, Northwords, Dreamcatcher, as well as in numerous anthologies and pamphlets.

Her full-length collections of poetry are The Ruby Slippers, first published in 2011, and Here's Looking at You Kid, in 2014, both published by Valley Press.

BOOKS

Here's Looking at You Kid

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Helen Burke is a poet constantly on tour, and at each stop she makes time to take requests from the audience, for favourite poems from her vast back catalogue. These ‘requested poems’ have been brought together for Here’s Looking at You Kid, the long-awaited follow-up to Helen’s much-loved first collection The Ruby Slippers. Like its predecessor, this new book includes notes on each poem, a generous sprinkling of Helen's unique illustrations, and an introduction by the author.

Readers will at long last discover the secrets of ‘hospital lingo’, find out why dogs are so especially kind, learn how to handle mothers who are at ‘that difficult age between 81 and 81-and-a-half’, and the lurid details of ‘what they found in the poet’s stomach’. These are poems selected by the public, and tested on audiences all over the world. Each one is someone’s favourite – but which will be yours?

The Ruby Slippers

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The Ruby Slippers is nothing less than a poetry landmark, collecting thirty-one of the finest poems from a remarkable forty-year poetry career, in which Helen – the toast of her native Yorkshire – has won more competitions and prizes than you can shake a stick at.

This sparkling selection tells the story of her journey through poetry, from her early poems applauded by 'a very young Simon Armitage' to her recent work with the Origami Poems Project. The reader is transported through these years at a pace, with help from a selection of extremely red shoes and a fair number of animals.

The poems, uproariously funny and deeply touching (sometimes both within a single line), are complimented by a charming introduction, 'Why I Write', and extensive notes on the creation and publishing history of the poems. Any poetry lover will treasure this collection, and anyone with a soul will find much to love in this 'magnum opus' from one of Yorkshire's most valuable poets.

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