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.
“Witty, vibrant, joyous, funny (her mother, though unlike every other mother, will remind you of your mother) and hyper-attentive to everything that makes us human, The Ruby Slippers is a wonderful book.”
— Thomas Lux
“A poet with verve, wit and humanity.”
— Ian McMillan
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. February 2017 will see the release of Today the Birds Will Sing, a definitive 'collected' edition including all the poetry Helen has published since 1969.
Date Published: 2011-06-11
Catalogue Number: VP0015
Number of Pages: 78
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
Cover illustration by the author
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