The Illustrated Woman

The Illustrated Woman

The brilliant new collection from award-winning poet Helen Mort

Summary

*SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2022 FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST COLLECTION*

'A raw, tender, potent collection' - JESSICA ANDREWS


'Gorgeous poems - profound, exploratory, wild, playful - and completely now' - RUTH PADEL

________

The brilliant new collection from T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Award shortlisted poet Helen Mort

Let me kneel
before the sky and let me be humble, untidy,
let me be decorated.


Here are women's bodies. Hungry adolescent bodies, fluctuating pregnant bodies, ailing aging bodies. Here are bodies as products to be digitized and consumed. Here is the body in nature, changing and growing stronger. Here are tattooed women through history, ink unfurling across their skin.

The Illustrated Woman is a tender and incisive collection about what it means to live in a female body - from the joys and struggles of new motherhood to the trauma of deepfakes. Amidst the landscapes of the Peak District and the glaciers of Greenland, Helen Mort's remarkable poems transfix the reader in a celebration of beauty and resilience.

'These are poems that will leave their indelible mark' - ANDREW MCMILLAN

Reviews

  • The Illustrated Woman bristles with colour and truth. Helen Mort renders the body in desire, shame, love and pain across landscapes to create a dazzling portrait of our own skin as something that belongs only to us
    Jessica Andrews, author of SALTWATER

About the author

Helen Mort

Helen Mort was born in Sheffield in 1985, and grew up in nearby Chesterfield. Five times winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and won the Manchester Young Writer Prize in 2008. Her first collection, Division Street (2013), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Award, and won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. In 2014, she was named as a 'Next Generation Poet', the prestigious accolade announced only once every ten years, recognising the 20 most exciting new poets from the UK and Ireland. No Map Could Show Them (2016), her second collection, about women and mountaineering, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Helen has been the Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and the Derbyshire Poet Laureate and was named one of the RSL's 40 under 40 Fellows in 2018. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and lives in Sheffield. Black Car Burning was her first novel, and A Line Above the Sky is her first work of narrative memoir.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more