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by Lydia Fulleylove

A poet in conversation with her mother, across eight decades.

Visit Soundcloud to hear a five-minute interview with the author about her collection.

Inspired by reading her mother’s World War II diaries, Lydia Fulleylove’s latest collection, Ampersand, creates a unique discourse between mother and daughter. By placing her own diary entries and poetry in conversation with her mother’s, we are introduced to a young woman enlisting in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at the height of the war, a person Fulleylove finds both curious yet quietly familiar. Upon discovering their shared rhythms and unexpected connections – the sea, their temperament, a fierce love of place – she keenly weaves their words together to present a portrait of a relationship that continues to evolve even in death. A startling counterpoint, their words – separated by nearly eighty years – acquire renewed significance in this beautiful book that revels in the bonds between mother and daughter.

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“When a poet daughter discovers a set of war diaries in a familiar hand, it sparks a spine-tingling, creative response that forges a new bond with the artist mother she has lost. Fulleylove has created a unique dialogue – in poems, prose, collaged pieces and diary extracts – an experimentally-fascinating, honest, often moving, beautifully-crafted book. A remarkable meeting of artistic minds.”
– Robyn Bolam

“These poems move with a sensitive, self-questioning intelligence, letting Fulleylove’s mother’s experience speak from its own immediacy but feeling for resonances in the poet’s own life and times, inviting the reader into a shared space that is not so much timeless – history is the living core of it – but stepped aside from mere chronology into a genuine conversation we are privileged to overhear.”
– Philip Gross

“Lydia Fulleylove’s gloriously sustained set piece retrieves the past like a cache of old photographs. The meeting of the voices of these two women speaks of the dark retrieval of time, couched in fascinating historical detail, and linked by infinite love.”
– Philip Hoare

“In this exceptional and unusual collection, Fulleylove pursues the difficulties of grief, finding meeting points with her mother, through sensuous but separate experiences of the physical world.”
– Stephanie Norgate


Lydia Fulleylove is a freelance writer and teacher who lives on the Isle of Wight. She has worked extensively in prisons, healthcare and with young people and leads community cross arts projects, often inspired by sea and landscape. She loves sea swimming and walking in wild places.

Her first collection, Notes on Sea and Land was published by HappenStance Press and her second collection Estuary, with artist Colin Riches, was published by Two Ravens Press. Her poem ‘Night Drive’ was shortlisted for the Forward Best Single Poem Prize in 2010 and is published in Forward Poems of the Decade. Her writing has been placed in competitions and has been published in a range of magazines and other publications including Chalk Poets (2016), Salt on the Coals (Winchester Poetry Prize 2016), Words for the Wild, Coming and Going (HappenStance, 2019) and The Guardian.

Her new collection Ampersand is published by Valley Press in October 2022.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2022-10-20

ISBN: 9781912436897

Catalogue Number: VP0203

Number of Pages: 96

Cover and text design: Peter Barnfather
Commissioning editor: Jo Brandon

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