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The Breakfast Machine

Authors: Helen Ivory

Published by Bloodaxe Books

ISBN: 9781852248734

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Inside The Breakfast Machine a chicken on squeaky tin legs is cooking you eggs and a squirrel plays tape-recorded birdsong high up in a tree. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse high-tail it into town as cowboys, and the fate of the world is decided by a game of cards.

The Breakfast Machine is driven by the transformations of fairytale where the dark corners of childhood are explored and found to be alive and well in offices, kitchens and hen-houses.

There is more than a hint of East European darkness in Helen Ivory's third collection, which sits more comfortably alongside the animations of Jan Svankmajer than any English poetic tradition.

"This, Helen Ivory's third poetry collection from Bloodaxe Books, abounds with images drawn from the darker side of fairytale."
Simon Proctor

"Helen Ivory creates a troubled yet beguiling world rich in irony and disquiet. She possesses a strongly-grounded narrative voice which, combined with her dextrous transformative takes both on reality and on what lies beyond reality's surface, puts one in mind of the darker side of Stevie Smith who said that poetry 'is a strong explosion in the sky'. The Breakfast Machine is such an explosion in the sky of contemporary poetry."
Penelope Shuttle

"Ivory's language, seemingly innocuous, sometimes almost deadpan, is in fact highly and instinctively wrought to contain the elusive resonance of her subject-matterÖmyth, madness, dislocation of self, shifting intent of narrator and her quixotic elemental worldÖ They capture the imagination at full strength. Prepare, therefore, to be disturbed."
Sarah Law, Stride

"Finally for something completely different. The Dog in the Sky twitches the darkÖ lighthearted personae play against a cosmic shiver. Any surrealism relies on a certain passionate madness."
Judith Kazantzis, Poetry Review

"Ivory's particular trick of capturing reality from a slightly surreal angle, makes the heart race a little."
Helena Nelson, Ambit

Helen Ivory was born in Luton in 1969, and lives in Norwich. She has worked in shops, behind bars, on building sites and with several thousand free-range hens. She has studied painting and photography and has a Degree from Norwich School of Art. In 1999 she won an Eric Gregory Award. She has published three collections with Bloodaxe Books: The Double Life of Clocks (2002), The Dog in the Sky (2006) and The Breakfast Machine (2010). She was awarded an Arts Council writerís bursary in 2005 and in 2008 an Authorís Foundation Grant. She has taught creative writing for Continuing Education at the University of East Anglia for nine years and has been Academic Director there for five. She is an editor for the Poetry Archive, a tutor for the Arvon Foundation and is currently studying for a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA.
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