EMPIRES OF CLAY, Becky’s first full poetry collection was published by Cinnamon Press in November 2016. The book includes ‘Jesus Lives’, a poem highly commended in the Forward Prizes 2017.
‘These vividly imagined, lexically startling and ambitious poems range widely – from the personal and domestic to the philosophical and cosmic, incorporating Nietszche, Barbara Hepworth and ‘the bins at Waitrose’. Cherriman’s earthy erotic, mythmaking imagination is at work on every page – these poems flash with magic and are lit with subversive carnality.’ (Steve Ely).
‘Becky Cherriman portrays, in precise detail and with vivid imagery, the daily challenges faced by women. These poems deal with love, loss and redemption. They draw on fairy tales and contemporary art for inspiration and provide unexpected glimpses of people’s lives, from the girl who ‘had lived with the wolves’ to the mother trying to do her best by serving a ‘Eucharist of grain and fruit’ (Caroline Davies).
Poetry pamphlet ECHOLOCATION was released on 17th February 2016 with Mother’s Milk Books and was longlisted
in the 2016 Saboteur Awards.
‘Becky Cherriman’s ECHOLOCATION is a stridently assured body of work that negotiates the tethers binding mother and child. Infertility, fostering and single motherhood are encountered and marked by those elements of love that exist within the interstices of domestic spaces and everyday life. (Carolyn Jess-Cooke)
‘An impressive first pamphlet which does not succumb to mawkish sentimentality, ECHOLOCATION displays
some startling and original imagery.’ (Michael Brown)
Current Writing Projects
- Words on Skin – In the skins they wear, poets walk the less travelled path to explore ‘the things that can’t be said’. In the wake of the Windrush scandal, Brexit, the refugee crisis and hostile environment policy, this collective speak truths about intersectionality, the effect of racism and the repercussions of colonialism on their lives. Through spoken word, contemporary thought, song, jazz, movement, and percussion, this show is a calling to reflect on the things that stain our skin with Michelle Scally Clarke, Sai Murray, Richard Bostock, Cherie Taylor Battiste, Ricky Venel Stone and Julie Easley. The show was awarded a microcommission by the Ilkley Literature Festival and premiered on 12th October as part of the festival.
- Second poetry collection
- A novel
Magazines, Anthologies and Web Publications
- 2010 – poems ‘Wolves’ and ‘Paisley Quilt’ published by Michelle McGrane at Peony Moon
- 2011 – poem ‘Behind His Eye’ shortlisted for Grist competition and poems ‘Behind His Eye’ and ‘Every Bone’ published in the anthology ‘A Complicated Way of Being Ignored’
- 2013 – poems ‘Eucharist’ and ‘That Room’ published in ‘Versions of the North – Contemporary Yorkshire Poetry’ edited by Ian Parks and published by Five Leaves Publications
- 2013 – poems ‘That Room’ and ‘Paisley Quilt’ published as part of the award-winning Against Rape campaign
- 2014 – extract of ‘Namesake’ published in One that Won section of Mslexia Issue 61
- 2014 – poem ‘The Secret of Perfect Wine’ published in Heavenly Bodies, an anthology about the constellations by Beautiful Dragons, ed. Rebecca Bilkau
- 2014 – Grief flash fiction trilogy published in book of adult fairy tales, The Forgotten and The Fantastical by Mother’s Milk, ed. Teika Bellamy
- 2014 – poem ‘Lullabies’ published on Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s guest spot Writing Motherhood for the Mslexia blog
- 2014 – poems ‘Shadow’ and ‘Namesake’ published on Carolyn Jess-Cooke’s 7 day blog about depression
- 2014 – ‘Urchin’ commended in Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize 2014 and published in The Story of Us, ed. Teika Bellamy
- 2015 – ‘Wolves’ published by Bloodaxe in their Raving Beauties Anthology, Hallelujah For Fifty Feet Women
- 2015 – ‘Austerity’ published at Well Versed and in Berfrois’ free-to-download Poets For Corbyn. Translated by Francesca Spinelli for Internazionale 1123, 9.10.15
- 2015 – ‘Christchurch Ilkley’ published in Envoi Issue 170, ed. Kay Syrad
- 2015 – ‘Eucharist’ published at Voice In Journal
- 2015 – ‘Secondary School Art’ published in Blueshift, Book of Sand project, ed. Karen Dennison
- 2015 – ‘The Basement’ published in New Walk Issue 10, ed. Rory Waterman
- 2015 – ‘Chlorine Attack, Idlib’ in Beautiful Dragons anthology My Dear Watson , ed. Rebecca Bilkau
- 2015 – ‘Pillion’ published with A Firm of Poets in The People’s Republic of Poetry, ed. The Ossett Observer
- 2015 – Poem ‘Our Harrogate’ and ‘Crashing The Party’, an extract from Yellow Brick Roads published in anthology Haunt, produced by Imove. The project was shortlisted by The Saboteur Awards 2016
- 2016 – ‘Urbanite’ published in Eyewear’s The Best New British and Irish Poets 2016
- 2016 – ‘Hypermnestra’s Tale’ in Journeys: A Space For Words published by Wordspace in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, ed. Lucy Brighton and Stephanie Buick
- 2016 – ‘Vaginal Repair’ published in Wordlife Anthology
- 2016 – Beam commission Our Treasures – bespoke poems written for Altofts Festival In A Day in conjunction with the Altofts community is available on audio or PDF with an accompanying map so you can follow the trail yourself
- 2017 – ‘The Foster Mother’s Blanket’ published in Seren’s Writing Motherhood – A Creative Anthology, ed. Carolyn Jess Cooke
- 2017 – ‘Christchurch Ilkley’ published in The Valley Press Anthology Of Yorkshire Poetry, ed. Miles Salter and Oz Hardwick
- 2017 – ‘Jesus Lives’ highly commended in The Forward Prize 2017 and published in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018
- 2018 – ‘The Game’ and ‘Trench Foot 2017’ published in ‘Women Write Now Reading The Contemporary’, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings Vol 18, No 1, 2018, ed. Shirley Chew and Lucy Arnold
- 2018 – ‘The Cosmologist’ published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in Mythologies: A Space For Words, ed. Alexa Russell, Kate Kennedy and Amina Alyal
- 2018 – ‘Home Fires’, ‘Brunswick Tunnel, Harrogate’ and ‘Marsden, After The Flood’ published in The North, Issue 60, August 2018, ed. Peter and Ann Sansom
- 2018 – ‘Crisis Loan’ shortlisted for the Leeds Peace Poetry Prize
- 2018 – ‘Meteor Shower’ published in Until The Stars Burn Out, ed. Maya Horton
- 2018 – ‘Pictures of Sarah’ published in Other Voices: 40 years of The Cure, ed Andie Berryman and Ali Jones.
- 2018 – ‘Cycle’ published in a series of hospital poems on John Foggins’ blog
Jesus has treacly eyes and lives in my granny’s spare room.
When we come to visit, this is where we sleep.
There’s panelling on the walls, a tottering wardrobe
and a mahogany bed, corrugated at the foot. It’s huge.
Put it this way, the BFG has nothing on this bed.
My sister says Jesus’s eyes are evil.
I say he’s sad because we don’t believe in him
but jump just as high at the stair’s sudden crack.
It’s Granny, juggling lumpy hot water bottles;
she leans on feather pillows, offers talcum-kissed cheeks.
Then, the chime of a ghost bell!
Granny’s dead school mistress ringing for her
as she returns downstairs for ginger beer.
We go back to considering Jesus
who thinks he’s being helpful by watching over us
at night. Our limbs petrify.
Still, when sleep steals her, I seek out
the answers in those treacly eyes.
‘Jesus Lives’, first published in Empires of Clay, was highly commended for The Forward Prize 2017. Olivia Jessuk contacted me to ask me about the poem and responded with these beautiful drawings.