'I write because if I didn’t the sun would stop shining, the moon would stop everything else, the storm at sea would get bored and go home and the whirlwind would cave in on itself and become just a breeze.'
Helen Burke's The Ruby Slippers is nothing less than a poetry landmark; collecting thirty-one of the finest poems from a remarkable forty-year poetry career, in which Helen - the toast of her native Yorkshire - has won more competitions and prizes than you can shake a stick at. This sparkling selection tells the story of her journey through poetry, from her early poems applauded by 'a very young Simon Armitage' to her recent work with the Origami Poems Project.
The reader is transported through these years at a pace, with help from a selection of extremely red shoes and a fair number of animals. The poems, uproariously funny and deeply touching (sometimes both within a single line), are complimented by a charming introduction, 'Why I Write', and extensive notes on the creation and publishing history of the poems.
Any poetry lover will treasure this collection, and be delighted and touched by this 'magnum opus' from one of Yorkshire's most valuable poets.
"Witty, vibrant, joyous, funny (her mother, though unlike every other mother, will remind you of your mother) and hyper-attentive to everything that makes us human, Ruby Slippers is a wonderful book."
"A poet with verve, wit and humanity."
Helen Burke was born in Doncaster, 1953, and started writing poetry in the 1970s. Since then she has amassed an impressive record of competition victories, including the Manchester International, the Suffolk Poetry Prize, and the Ilkley Literature Performance Poetry Prize (twice). Her work has been published in The Rialto, New Welsh Review, Northwords, Dream Catcher, as well as in numerous pamphlets and anthologies. She also writes plays and short stories; her work for the theatre was performed at the York Literature Festival, and a short story will appeared in the anthology Women Writing the Weird in Autumn 2011. She has also written for the radio, and is currently working as a visual artist; her art work appears on front cover, back cover and interior of The Ruby Slippers.