Nicki Heinen has been sectioned and hospitalised under the mental health act on several occasions during her life. As such, her debut collection contains vivid descriptions of hospitals and her incarceration in them.
‘… rotting plaster, the cracked tiles erupting weeds, a summer gone bad in the crater of today, yesterday, tomorrow, every day the same but for the occasional bath.’
She has also experienced long periods of freedom, often chaperoned as it is, by its evil twin brother, loneliness. At times, freedom can be an incarceration of its own.
‘…I ask my lovers if they will say my name, gently, as you did; / they cannot. They take the mirror and hold it up to my face. / Look, they say, you are alone.’
It is no exaggeration to state that, in this astonishing debut full collection, Nicki shows time and again that she has the imagination, the wit and the craft to be able to move almost nimbly beyond all these restrictions. She has produced a book of great power and invention, with imagery you can taste! It is poetry of some power that can raise you up through the roof of the cage and out into the air!
‘The astonishing poems in Nicki Heinen’s new collection have an exceptional diamond clarity and a richly self-aware sense of humour, transmuting dark matter into intense beauty. This is brilliant and haunting work.’ – Nick Drake
‘Nicki Heinen’s poems deal with extremes of experience, but are composed with cool determination, loving patience and a Keatsian delight in the material and tangible world.’ – Sasha Dugdale