The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood

Edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright


Love and devotion sit alongside exhaustion and doubt in The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood, a moving collection of poems about mothers and the state of motherhood.

Thirty-two poets from around the world consider motherhood from a variety of perspectives, writing sensitively as and about children and mothers, expectant mothers, and women contemplating motherhood. The collection as a whole celebrates mothers and acknowledges the strain and complexity of feelings associated with motherhood.

You can read a discussion of one of the poems, ‘The Steps’, over on Poem Club.

Paperback ISBN 978-0-9574596-7-0
Publication date: 27th February 2014
96pp / 44 poems / 5 illustrations
Price: £10 (paperback)/£5.50 (ebook)

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The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood is a fantastic anthology. I found so much to connect with in its pages. It ranges across the subject with wit and curiosity and doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths about motherhood. It questions the relationship inheritance that is the bond between child and grandmother (or lack thereof), the relationship with one’s own mother, the failings, the relief, the joy, the beauty. It is not schmaltz, it is one of the most powerful collections I have ever had the pleasure of reading. ‘ – Wendy Pratt, Northern Soul

‘One does not have to be a mother to enjoy and see the value in The Emma Press Anthology of Motherhood. In many ways it may be more valuable to see this collection as a piece of artfully rendered female testimony that all feminists can study with a view to gaining greater insight into the lives of other women than to pigeonhole it as a piece of memoir that is simply aimed at one type of woman: a mum.’ – Alisande Fitzsimons, For Books’ Sake

‘This is a collection which marks, more than any recent anthology on women’s experiences, those transitions and redefinitions of narrative. […] Many of the poems balance perfectly lyricism, joy, humour, and a touch of sadness. All, on some level, speak to that ambivalence that marks our position as parents and women.’ – LJ McDowall, The Quarterday


About the editors

Rachel and EmmaRachel Piercey (pictured, left) is a former editor at The Cadaverine magazine and a current editor at the Emma Press. She studied English Literature at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. Her illustrated pamphlet of love poems, The Flower and the Plough, was published by the Emma Press in 2013 and her second pamphlet, Rivers Wanted, in 2014.

Emma Wright (pictured, right) studied Classics at Brasenose College, Oxford. She worked in ebook production at Orion Publishing Group before leaving to set up the Emma Press in 2012. In 2015 she toured the UK with the Myths and Monsters poetry tour for children, supported with funding from Arts Council England as part of the Lottery-funded Grants for the Arts programme. She lives in Birmingham.


About the poets

Deborah Alma has an MA in Creative Writing, teaches Writing Poetry at Worcester University and uses poetry to assist communication with people with dementia. Last year she was Writer in Residence for the Arvon Foundation at The Hurst and for the NHS Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference 2013. She is also the Emergency Poet.

Stephanie Arsoska lives on the east coast of Scotland with her husband and two children. She  is the poetry blogger for Word Bohemia and has her own blog at where she runs the Virtual Open Mic Night, an online poetry event where mothers can perform their work.

Liz Berry was born in the Black Country and now lives in Birmingham. She received an Eric Gregory Award in 2009 and her pamphlet The Patron Saint of School Girls was published by tall-lighthouse in 2010. She is the assistant poetry editor at Ambit magazine. Her debut collection will be published by Chatto & Windus in Summer 2014.

Sara Boyes has contributed poems to a number of anthologies, including Images of Women and Soul Feathers, and has also produced two collections, Kite and Wildflowers (Stride, 1989 and 1993), and a pamphlet, Black Flame (Hearing Eye, 2005). In a former life she worked in theatre, writing and acting in plays. She now teaches creative writing.

Carole Bromley teaches Creative Writing for York University and writes a blog at She is the Poetry Society’s Stanza rep for York. She has won a number of prizes, including the Bridport, and has two pamphlets and a collection, A Guided Tour of the Ice House, with Smith/Doorstop.

Laura Chalar was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1976. She is a lawyer, writer and translator, and has published two poetry and two short story collections. Her work has been featured in magazines internationally. Laura divides her time between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and her hometown of Montevideo.

George David Clark teaches poetry at Valparaiso University. His most recent poems can be found in new issues of Alaska Quarterly Review, The Antioch Review, Blackbird, FIELD, The Missouri Review, The Southwest Review, The Yale Review and elsewhere. He lives in Indiana with his wife and their two young children.

Flora de Falbe is in her final year of school in London. She was a Foyle Young Poet in 2011 and 2012 and has read at events including the Ledbury Festival and Chelsea Fringe; her work is published or forthcoming in CAKE, Rising and an anthology by Eyewear Publishing.

Kate Garrett was born in southern Ohio and moved to the UK in 1999. Her work has been published online and in print; most recently four poems from her sequence Minor Things were included in the YA fiction anthology Heathers (Pankhearst). She lives in Sheffield with her children, cats, and a meditation cushion.

Hilary Gilmore was raised in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, and returned there in 2012 after eleven years living in Britain and Eastern Europe. Her professional life concerns the history, cultures and physical poetry of material things, especially clothing. She has published extensively in this field.

Melinda Kallasmae lives in country Victoria, Australia, with her sons and their cats. Her poems have been published in Australian anthologies and magazines including The Australian Writer, Verandah and Tamba.

David Kennedy lives and writes in Sheffield. He has published three collections with Salt, most recently The Devil’s Bookshop (2007). He has also published pamphlets with Oyster Catcher and Rack Press.

Anna Kirk is from Northumberland, but left home for London six years ago. She studied in Bloomsbury, both at UCL and Royal Holloway. She now works in Hoxton Square, but is sometimes despatched west to work in a bookshop on Gloucester Road, where she eyes up and buys too many books.

Anna Kisby is an archivist and mother of three, living in Brighton. Her poems have been placed in competitions and published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She is currently working on a series of illustrated poems.

Peter LaBerge is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. His recent poetry is featured or forthcoming in The Louisville Review, DIAGRAM, The Newport Review, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, Weave Magazine and Hanging Loose. He grew up in Connecticut, and currently serves as the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal.

Eve Lacey read English at Cambridge and was awarded the David Almond Fellowship in 2012. She is a judge for the Commonwealth Book Prize and poetry editor at For Books’ Sake. Her work has been published in Wordgathering and Eunoia Review, and longlisted for the Hot Key Young Writers Prize.

Anna Leader, 17, is a high school senior currently living in tiny, rainy Luxembourg and dreaming of Princeton, where she will be an undergraduate next year. She has published a novel, Tentative, and a collection of poetry, Squeak Like Dolls, and was the joint first-place winner of the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation in 2013.

Marena Lear was born in Havana, but has lived most of her life in different parts of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., land of pine trees, Nirvana, and delicious coffee. She is currently an MA student at the University of East Anglia. This is her first publication.

Katherine Lockton is co-editor of the South Bank Poetry magazine. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Magma, Rising, Northwords Now, Brittle Star, The Dark Horse and The Morning Star. She has performed at venues such as The Torriano Meeting House, The Troubadour, The Betsey Trotwood, Calder’s Theatre and The Poetry Café.

Rachel Long is a poet and spoken word artist from London. She is a graduate of Apples and Snakes Young Writers Programme and she is currently a member of the international ‘Burn After Reading’ collective. Rachel is studying an MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths University, and is working towards her first poetry pamphlet.

Julie Maclean is based in Victoria, Australia. She was shortlisted for the Crashaw Prize (Salt) in 2012 and joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize (UK), and her debut collection, ­When I saw Jimi, was published in 2013. Her poetry and short fiction has featured in leading international journals including The Best Australian Poetry. She blogs at

Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi has worked in television, advertising and as a scriptwriter on a sitcom in Indonesia. She performed her poetry for the first time in 2011, at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. She now lives in Naples, where she is enjoying her new role as mother to her little boy Corentin. Her first pamphlet, Ikhda, by Ikhda, is publishing with the Emma Press in March 2014.

Kathryn Maris, a poet from New York City who has lived in London since 1999, is the author of two collections, The Book of Jobs (Four Way Books, 2006) and God Loves You (Seren, 2013). She has won a Pushcart Prize, an Academy of American Poets award, and fellowships from Yaddo and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies including Best British Poetry 2012 and the Oxford Poets Anthology.  She teaches creative writing for the Poetry School and the Arvon Foundation.

Richard O’Brien’s first pamphlet, your own devices, appeared in 2009 on tall-lighthouse press and his second, The Emmores, has just been published by the Emma Press. His work has featured in Poetry London, the Erotic Review and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. His blog, The Scallop-Shell, is dedicated to the close reading of contemporary poetry.

Rachel Piercey was President of the Oxford University Poetry Society and won the Newdigate Prize in 2008. She is currently an editor at Cadaverine magazine and her illustrated pamphlet of love poems, The Flower and the Plough, was published by the Emma Press in January 2013.

Clare Pollard works as a poet, teacher, editor and translator. Her fourth collection, Changeling (2011) is a PBS Recommendation. Her play The Weather premiered at the Royal Court Theatre and her documentary My Male Muse was a Radio 4 Pick of the Year. Clare’s latest book is Ovid’s Heroines. Her website is

Jacqueline Saphra’s first pamphlet, Rock ’n’ Roll Mamma, was published by Flarestack and her first full collection, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye, 2011), was developed with funding from Arts Council England and nominated for The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. An illustrated book of prose poems is forthcoming from the Emma Press in 2014.

Kathryn Simmonds has published two poetry collections with Seren: Sunday at the Skin Launderette (2008) and The Visitations (2013). Her first novel, Love and Fallout, will be published by Seren in June 2014. She is currently poet-in-residence at The Charles Causley Trust in Launceston, Cornwall.

Lavinia Singer won the Newdigate Prize at Oxford in 2010. She completed her Creative Writing MA at Royal Holloway in 2012, and is co-editor of Oxford Poetry, which celebrates its centenary this year. She currently works at Enitharmon Press, teaches Old English and sells ice cream at the Southbank Centre.

Catherine Smith writes poetry, fiction and radio drama, and teaches creative writing for a number of organisations, including Arvon and the Poetry School. She has twice been short-listed for the Forward Prize and her poetry has been widely anthologised. She has two adult sons and lives in Sussex with her husband and two delinquent cats.

Camellia Stafford was born in Warwickshire. She read English Literature at King’s College London and has an Art History MA from The Courtauld Institute of Art. Her debut poetry collection Letters to the Sky is published by Salt. Her poems have appeared in Oxford Poetry, Magma and Best British Poetry 2013.

Megan Watkins’ work has been published by The Echo Room, Morning Star, Transom, Smiths Knoll, Magma, Tears in the Fence and other extremely good publications. Her children are 9 and 7 years old, she started writing poetry when they were little because it is short and all you need is a notebook.


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