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The Emma Press





Overlap is a collection of poems by Valerie Bence. Cover design by Amy Louise Evans.

‘We mash tealeaves and bran for the rabbit,
the sweet aroma fogging her glasses,
and every day, for five shillings a week,
she scrubs bloody butcher’s aprons.
We take the clean ones back on the bus,
until the day she faints outside Boots in the rain,
sliding down the wall like in a cartoon,
her wartime hat slipping over her eyes.’

You can watch the recording of the book launch here.


Page count: 36

Publication date: 27 January 2022

Paperback ISBN: 9781912915941

GTIN: 9781912915941 SKU: 9781912915941 Categories: , Tag:

Valerie Bence

Valerie Bence finished her doctorate in her mid-fifties and completed a Poetry MA at MMU in 2017. She was shortlisted for the Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers 4 in 2018, the Fish Poetry prize in 2019, and longlisted for the Ginkgo Prize in 2019. Her first collection, Falling in love with a dead man, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2019. She is a mum and nonna and lives and works in Buckinghamshire.


Valerie Bence’s latest poetry pamphlet is a testament to ordinary lives, and a meditation on grandmothers. Part memoir, part family history, Overlap is a series of vivid vignettes from the poet’s childhood, courtship, motherhood and grandmotherhood, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.

Bence’s grandmothers Winifred and Harriet are at the heart of this book. She reflects on their hardy, steadfast lives as she too becomes a grandmother, in very different times. Stranded from her family in the Covid-19 pandemic, the poet conjures up their ghosts, walks in their footsteps and – sometimes – feels herself become them.

More from Valerie Bence

Read ‘Visiting Oceans’ in Bare Fiction.

Read ‘After Adlestrop (for Helen Thomas)’ on the Poetry School website.

Praise for Overlap

‘That Bence had her first successes later in life has perhaps impacted how the writer deals with memory and displays perspicacity. Bence’s writing is always canny, attentive, and imbued with high emotion.’ Alan Parry, The Broken Spine

Watch Valerie Bence read poems from Overlap

Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × .5 × 19.8 cm

Pamphlet, eBook

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