Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Helen Ivory, The Breakfast Machine

The Breakfast Machine is Helen Ivory's third Bloodaxe Books collection. She is an editor for The Poetry Archive and Deputy Editor for the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears. She is currently working towards a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA, and in her spare time she makes shadow boxes. 

The blurb tells us that 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.' Helen says: 'With these poems, I was trying to get close to the shiver I feel when watching one of Jan Svankmajer's animations.  Svankmajer's films play on how memory structures and dream images are held in the unconscious. Relationships of images often seem bizarre when put under a microscope, but in the dream world (or the film world) they are perfectly logical.  These magical relationships, for Svankmajer, are embedded in the everyday discarded objects that we encountered in childhood and continue to encounter every day.' 

Penelope Shuttle called The Breakfast Machine 'an explosion in the sky of contemporary poetry', while Katy Evans-Bush, reviewing the book in Magma, callled it 'mischievously dark, rich with anti-logic and harnessed to the power of something we used to call magic'.

The book's webpage is here; you can also buy it here, of course. Or here.

Here's a poem from the book, which addresses that theme of magic while remaining tethered to a recognisable reality:

They think the world
is found in their pocket
if they just pull out
enough scarves.

They think doves
are for their sole amusement,
that rabbits are content
to live under their hat.

They keep the halved bodies
of all their mistakes
in cellars, with the bloodied
sequins and boas of their trade.

They think they know
what you’re thinking;
the card you hold
close to your chest.


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