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The Emma Press


do not be lulled by the dainty starlike blossom

do not be lulled by the dainty starlike blossom


The debut pamphlet of poems by Rachael Matthews.

“My husband’s Seville oranges are ripening

on the window ledge; he punctures and sucks

at them before flinging the pith at the pigs.”

Page count: 36

Publication date: 2nd April 2021

Paperback ISBN 978-1-912915-81-1

Rachael Matthews

Rachael Matthews was born near Sheffield and grew up on a housing estate in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Her ancestors were steel workers and circus performers. A former BBC Radio journalist and newsreader in London, she re-trained as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, via a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and a PhD at Sussex University exploring trauma and creativity. For the past several years she has worked as a clinician at a non-profit therapy centre in New York City, where she has lived for a decade with her wife, and more recently their baby daughter. Her poems have been widely published during that time, winning prizes in a number of major UK competitions.


Rachael Matthews is a working-class poet who paints poetic miniatures of domestic and psychological interiors. Her debut pamphlet, do not be lulled by the dainty starlike blossom, is a playful, dark meditation on the queer body as site of pleasure, connection, fertility, loss and trauma.

Matthews finished writing these poems during lockdown, while she was heavily pregnant with her daughter. It was an unwitnessed pregnancy, experienced in isolation from friends and family, and invisible to the psychotherapy patients she was treating virtually when New York City became the global epicentre of the pandemic. Resilience and hope are woven into its DNA.

“Dark, intelligent, and funny.” – The Friday Poem

“Rachael Matthews has an enviable lightness of touch, finding the comic and darkly comic in everyday domesticity. The elegance with which she zips between the seemingly inconsequential and the important is so skilful. And there is so much beautiful queerness here. These poems feel unique and full of risk! I can’t wait to read more.” – Richard Scott

“Poetry is born from the desire to confess and hide simultaneously, and Matthews demonstrates this masterfully.” – Caroline Bird

“Nothing in these poems feels safe – neither the family past nor the new-found tenderness and hope of the present. But as in the circus tradition she references, Rachael Matthews treads this unsteady ground with apparent ease and grace, while keeping finely-honed attention on the next move or next word.” – Philip Gross

Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × 19.8 cm

Print, eBook


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