Since the late 1970s, Helen Burke’s poems have appeared in pamphlets, on greetings cards, on pieces of origami, on radio, on tape, on CD, on the side of stray dogs and in a million other places – including, more recently, two collections from Valley Press.
After a year’s work tracking them down, typing them up, and putting them into a sensible order, we’re delighted to present Today the Birds Will Sing; a comprehensive, exhaustive treasury of Helen’s writing. Besides the poems, these 300 pages are filled with Helen’s illustrations, family photos, and reams of notes explaining where on earth all this came from.
We feel it’s no overstatement to say this is the one book that everyone should own; an unprecedented and unexpected treat that should entertain Helen’s fans, new and old, for the next few centuries at least.
‘Helen falls up to the moon, turns the world upside down. Her dreams have no edges. She can conjure up a “lovely glorious carefree hope-filled now” … her memories of childhood, her love of family and people dance in the rhythm of her poetry. She is without guile, witty, truthful, visionary and incisive. She lifts up my spirits, takes me on a star-spattered journey.’
— Norah Hanson
‘… poems to read out loud for their wit, character and dialogue. They capture the sound of a voice, the essence of a person, with sad notes to sweeten the humour.’
— Gillian Clarke
‘[Helen’s] poems sprawl all over you with the energy of a teething Labrador pup ... They are made with a hopeless love for humanity and a knowing compassion for our failings. They are of the Planet Lingo, the Planet Burke, unique, determined and inimitable.’
— Paula Meehan
‘Burke writes wittily and sensitively, with insight, and not a jot of sentimentality.’
— Mike Jenkins
‘Life-affirming ... This is poetry as alchemy.’
— Bill Kirton
Date Published: 2017-06-30
Catalogue Number: VP0086
Number of Pages: 300
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
Cover illustration by Helen Burke
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