This is the story of a baby coming into the world, and of her first year in that world altered beyond recognition by a virus born into our lives at nearly the same time. It is a song of breath, and of light. It is a collection of love poems, and a cry flung into the universe echoing the cry of all babies, a cry of loss and of nearly unbearable love. It is a book not just for pregnant women, or new mums and dads, but for all people who have entered through that small crack into the light of this life, and for all who have parents and have grappled with the joys and challenges of those most intimate of relationships. It is a song of light, and of breath. It is a story of where we come from.

Available from Shearsman Books

This collection not only exalts, is frightened for, and treasures new motherhood, but allows for its complexities and the terrible potential for loss, and especially I like how it doesn’t amputate mother-love from just the way we love as humans, sensuously and sometimes messily. It never slips into ‘saintly mother’ territory – it seems to recognise the burden that particular role has placed on women – for those who chose to have kids and those who didn’t.

Lynn Davidson

Trippy. Utterly relatable. Moving AF. Every new mum should get a copy on prescription.

Llinos Jones

By jlwpoetry

Books by JL Williams include Condition of Fire (Shearsman, 2011), Locust and Marlin (Shearsman, 2014), House of the Tragic Poet (If A Leaf Falls Press, 2016), After Economy (Shearsman, 2017) and Origin (Shearsman, 2022). Published widely in journals, her poetry has been translated into numerous languages. She has read at international literature festivals and venues in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, Cyprus, Canada, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro and the US. She wrote the libretto for the opera Snow which debuted in London in 2017, was awarded a bursary to develop a new opera with composer Samantha Fernando at the Royal Opera House and was a librettist for the award-winning 2020 covid-response Episodes project by The Opera Story. Williams curates writing events and creates workshops and professional development activities for poets. She is hopeful about the simple and mysterious power of poetry that allows us to know ourselves, each other and the world more deeply.

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