Provocative and tender, passionate yet wary, the highly charged poems in Helen Farish's first collection testify to the complex nature of relationships with lovers, with family and with the self. The love poems explore moments of intense exposure, and within the erotic relation seek to carve out a voice adequate to the expression of female sexuality and desire. Within this framework, the body itself becomes a rich and compelling site of inquiry.

Posted throughout the collection like sentinels, poems on the death of the father draw the poet back home where grief mingles with surprising moments of grace or redemption. But whether the encounter concerns sudden loss or sudden blessing, constant throughout is a warm and boldly embodied lyric 'I' voice generously inviting the reader in.

Poised at life's mid-point, these haunting, haunted poems negotiate their emotional freight in carefully crafted forms which mediate between exposure and guardedness. Expertly charting the geographies of sex and love, the histories of childhood and grief, Intimates introduces a new poet of originality, honesty and singular power.


  • Can there have been a more arresting opening to a debut collection than Helen Farish's 'Look at These'? Between this and her beautiful closing walk along the Coffin Path, we're treated to a whip-smart, tough lyricism, which is always alloyed by her sense of shape and economy. It's been ages since I've read a first book of poems as bold, carried off with such élan
    Paul Farley

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Helen Farish

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