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The Emma Press


Now You Can Look

Now You Can Look


Now You Can Look is a collection of poems by Julia Bird. With full-colour illustrations by Anna Vaivare.

“He gets the tea trays and she sets out the tray cloths –

one with the needle-lace border, the other repeating

a thatch-roofed cottage pattern. He tells her


the story of the man who sold him quarter of a pound

of mushrooms and she sees, sliced, the black gills

and the white caps, the caps’ day and the gills’ night.


He dizzies sic eggs with a fork in a pint-pot and she

takes down the pan which needs two hands, lights

the gas and turns its hissing lily up to full.”

– ‘The Artist and Her Husband Make Omelettes at a Quarter to Three on a Saturday Afternoon’, from Now You Can Look.

Page count: 36 / Illustrations: 6

Publication date: 16th October 2017

Paperback ISBN: 9781910139844

GTIN: N/A SKU: 978-1-910139-84-4 Categories: , , Tag:

Julia Bird

Julia Bird grew up in Gloucestershire and now lives in London, where she works for the Poetry Society and as an independent literature producer and promoter at Jaybird Live Literature. She has two poetry collections with Salt – Hannah and the Monk (2008) and Twenty-four Seven Blossom (2013) – and Now You Can Look, an illustrated poetry pamphlet, was published by The Emma Press in 2017.


This is a tale you can read three ways. The first time through, it’s the story of a woman who takes one glance at conventional early-twentieth-century life, and throws in her lot with art instead.

The second time, you might ask yourself if this woman is based on any particular artist of the inter-war period, and you’d be right to wonder – though this is no work of scholarly biography. A line connects the historical to the here-and-now, but it’s feathered and soft.

Third time reading, find the point where memoir and imagination connect. Now You Can Look.

‘Beginning with her childhood and taking us on a sensory and emotive journey through adolescence and onwards to her role as a wife and mother, Julia’s poems sparkle with wit, intrigue and richly captivating imagery. ‘ – Caitlin Miller, Irisi Magazine

‘In such images, Bird’s poetry shows how artwork is not separate to everyday life, but entwined with it – and, moreover, bound up with its transience: in these poems, omelettes, snowmen, marrows are all short-lived moments of artistic beauty.’ – Jonathan Taylor, Everybody’s Reviewing

‘This deftly composed poem sequence, paired with Anna Vaivare’s vibrant illustrations, moves through the life of a female artist during the early part of the twentieth century. Beginning from age nine, towards and past the point where the unnamed artist has a child of her own, Now You Can Look has a sharp, immediate quality which pulls you firmly into a life which both did and did not exist – vanished, imagined, or perhaps something else.’ – PBS Bulletin

Additional information

Dimensions 20 × 20 cm

Pamphlet, eBook

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