Helen Ivory

Helen Ivory: Featured Poet

Hospital Visit

The waiting room is full
of all sorts, pretending
to be awake.

The bad mother,
deaf ear cocked
to the incubator;

the bogey man,
painted eyeballs on his hands,
wedged upright in the corner.

Even the alchemist
has discovered a way
to shoe horses in his sleep.


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 a major Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her third Bloodaxe Books collection is The Breakfast Machine. She has taught creative writing for Continuing Education at UEA for ten years and has been Academic Director there for six. She is an Editor for the Poetry Archive, Editor of Ink Sweat and Tears and is currently working towards an exhibition of her visual art.  Find out more here: http://www.helenivory.co.uk/

6 thoughts on “Helen Ivory: Featured Poet”

  1. This is a great poem Helen – I love the way you encapsulate the scene in four short tercets. It reminded me of a casualty dept. on a Saturday night – I like the silence about it until the last line. You show us how much can be said in few words – the images come straight out at the reader. Such a visual poem – thanks for a great read.

    I shall check news about your forthcoming exhibition – sounds a ‘must see’. I’m just doing a PS online course right now – ‘Poetry and the Visual’ which is making me particularly interested in putting the visual into words.

    1. Thank you very much Valerie. I am trying to get my new book and exhibition launch dates to coincide. Not sure how possible this will be! Hope your course is going well.

  2. I loved this poem – it punched me in the stomach from the word go. Simple words, powerful images – my favourite kind of poem. Thanks for this post.


  3. I’m a big fan of your poetry, Helen. I own a copy of The Breakfast Machine and re-read it yesterday. Love this poem too, and I just toured around the sketches page on your web site. Very impressive. I look forward to your new book. Good luck with the exhibition.

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