For a few weeks I’ve been wanting to write about a chapbook I received from Seraph Press – Watching for Smoke by my dear friend Helen Heath. I wasn’t sure about writing this because I have a strong bias here. Helen basically kept me together last year, especially when I was preparing for the big move South!
However this is a stunning little book. Helen’s poetry cuts to the bone and I can frequently see myself reflected back to me in these poems. It’s undeniably domestic work, mothers and family are central themes but never trite. It’s true and telling and honest. I am certain any woman can find herself in there somewhere.
The book itself is a small work of art. The books have a wrap-around cover, which fastens with a knitting needle or crochet hook (mostly needles) and have a cut-out through which the title shows. The cover is grey card, and it’s all bound together with red hemp thread. Publisher Helen Rickerby has put in a huge amount of work on this. It’s a beautiful result.
Cover image from Helen Rickerby’s website
The chapbook will be launched by Dinah Hawken on Sunday 18th October at 3.30 pm in St Peter’s Hall, Beach Road, Paekakariki. There will be bubbly, there will be scones, there will most likely be tea and coffee, there will be music. I wish I could be there. A momentous occasion for the Helens. Long distance hugs!!
And I’ve been wanting to post this for an age from Fairy in Rimbaud’s Illuminations. (for my 3 Helens – the 3rd being writer, Helen Lehndorf).
“For Helen’s childhood thickets and shadows trembled, the breasts of the poor, and heavenly legends.
And her eyes and her dance superior even to the precious gleams, the cold influences, and the pleasure of the unique scenery and hour.”