Confident, deft and inventive, Empires of Clay is the first full-length collection from performer, poet and community activist, Becky Cherriman. Taking us into a world that is at once anchored and real, yet never predictable or what it seems, these poems are alive with surprising moments. So a doctor collects droplets from a couple making love in the shower 'for tinctures and ointments, / cures for lonely hearts / and hopelessness', whilst a mother and son share 'a Eucharist of grain and fruit'. Spanning territory from self-harming to single motherhood, from austerity to living with wolves, these are a vibrant, evocative and challenging poems that resonate long after reading, impressing their distinctive and humane narratives onto us so that:
Now, every sunset, we breathe
our story across the great gap,
in and out, like a fresh mist.
Becky Cherriman is a commissioned writer, creative writing facilitator and prize-winning performer based in Leeds. Her work is informed by the belief that not only do writing and the spoken word help us to make sense of the world and our place in it but that they provide us with the tools to transform our lives.
Her writing has been published by Bloodaxe, Mslexia, New Walk, Envoi, Mother's Milk; in Poets For Corbyn; on umbrellas and on the walls of a recording studio. She has had pieces commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield, The Rotunda Museum, Humbermouth Literature Festival, Imove and Grassington Festival. In 2015, her poem 'Austerity' was translated into Italian by Francesca Spinelli and printed in the socialist magazine, Internazionale.
Her pamphlet Echoloaction was published by Mother's Milk Books (2106).
(Author photo by Layla Legard)