Myrtle, by Ruth Wiggins


MyrtlePoems by Ruth Wiggins
With an introduction by Deryn Rees-Jones

Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-05-9

Publication date: 13th November 2014
Page count: 36
Price: £6.50 (paperback) / £4.25 (ebook)

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Ruth Wiggins celebrates the primal forces of nature and the human heart in her heady debut pamphlet, which is full of dry humour and wisdom. Interweaving the ancient with the modern world, she explores fertility and death in poems imbued with a subtle eroticism and resolute playfulness. A carnival stallholder battles with a spider; a bored vegetarian contemplates life as a fox; and the gods look on in amusement as lovers fear death and separation. Myrtle is a rich, zesty, poignant and dark collection from an assured and very welcome new poetic voice.

‘To read a Ruth Wiggins poem is to take a side-step into another world. That poetic world is characterised by risk, energy, desire, delight in otherness and the dappledness of language […]. There is nothing predictable or safe about where these poems end up, nor indeed about the journey on which they take you.’ — Deryn Rees Jones in her introduction

Read Ruth’s blog about her 2D vision over on our blog.



‘The language, the forms, the prosody in all these poems is unabashed, unafraid and enjoyably energetic.  Best of all, each poem is a surprise. Wiggins has a distinctive voice, characterised not by sameness but by unexpectedness. […]Myrtle is a thoroughly assured collection informed by classical learning and tempered with an erotic hum that underlies several of the poems. It delights in hoisting the ideas and images that prose cannot without preparation.’ — Wynn Wheldon for Sabotage Reviews

‘Most recently I’ve been impressed by Ruth Wiggins pamphlet collection Myrtle. It’s really energetic and daring and blends the ancient and modern world.’ – Moniza Alvi, Poetry Society website

‘The Runner Up is Myrtle by Ruth Wiggins, a small riot of a book and another nicely designed one. There are only twenty-two poems in this pamphlet, but they fizzle and crack along, searing themselves on to your retina. Ruth Wiggins harnesses the ancient and modern to bring us love and death at their most visceral; here is someone who has found a confident distinctive voice. It can be poignant, laugh out loud funny and rude all in one breath’ – Martin Figura, judge of the 2016 Fledgling Awards

‘Sensuous verses place the reader into the mind of an amorous Pan in ‘On Making Love to a Nanny Goat’, as Wiggins imagines a four-legged lover ‘eating out of your palm’ as you ‘bring her dainty hooves up to your chest’. Frank sexual desire dominates the verses of ‘Reynard’ as the narrator lusts after the ‘big old dog fox’ of European legend, a virile symbol imagined as ‘heavy with health, / With cock’, and whose pelt on her shoulders brings out rough, doggish desires. […] Myrtle is Ruth Wiggins’s debut pamphlet of poetry, and she is extraordinarily accomplished already, keeping tight control of her imaginative verse and varying her formal and thematic approach throughout. Equally importantly, Wiggins’s poems are a joy to read and it is a pleasure for the reader to spend time in the sly, sensual and smutty world she creates.’ — Christine Fears for the Erotic Review


About the poet

Ruth WigginsRuth Wiggins lives in East London with her partner and their three sons. Her work has appeared in UK magazines and anthologies, and has been commended by Alice Oswald and David Morley in recent competitions. She is a member of Tideway and Forest Poets. You can read more about her on her blog, Mudpath.
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