Thursday, 9 June 2011



BeWrite Books proudly releases today the latest in its ever-growing collection of exclusive sole-authored anthologies from some of the finest poets of our day … Carolyn Oulton’s A Child, a Death and the Making of the Fairy Tale Woman.
     These exquisite, intriguing, unique works explore the coming and the going of life … and much of what happens in the snowflake of existence we briefly experience in between.
    Carolyn Oulton’s academic background – she is a lecturer in English literature, with a special interest in Victorian fiction – meets the domestic and encounters all the uncertainties of our time on earth with poems that don’t so much open the mind but open within the mind.
      Here, Virginia Woolf meets Timothy Leary. You Might Want to Picture This:

Ok, you’re down by the sea
where it starts to thin
and fray around the edges;
past the ghost train, the rides
that will only take you at a certain size,
losing your footing on the shingle,
and a stone in the turn-up of your trousers, and
the tide, for all you know,
could be in any direction at all.

Popular UK poet Sue Guiney says: “In A Child, A Death and the Making of the Fairy Tale Woman, Oulton has created a life, with all its humour and tragedy, dreams and fears, in language mixed with beauty and simplicity. Both quiet and powerful, this is poetry that carries you along in waves, like the sea that crashes through it. It stays with you, reverberating in your ear and your heart.”  

A Child, a Death and the Making of the Fairy Tale Woman is Oulton’s third volume of poetry. This latest collection from BeWrite Books is a beautifully crafted, post-modern dialectic in which she confronts topics from pregnancy in On Leave, Baby Imminent and childbirth in The Pool to death in Scissors, Paper, Stone.
      And feminism. She questions the existence of the modern woman in After Reading a Victorian Conduct Manual in the British Library, suggesting a universal similitude between all women, irrespective of time or place. Drawing on her specialist knowledge and extensive research in the Victorian field, she calls for an atavistic re-emergence of values in Doubtful Icons and Tabula

How do you do.
Correct response: How do you do.
No question mark.
Most people I know have forgotten this by now.

The modern pastoral Railway Hill comfortably co-exists with A London Collage, a retrospective monologue written as a result of the London bombings, lending a fatalistic slant to this work.

Allison Grinney, well known poet and poetry reviewer, says: “Oulton addresses some commonplace short-comings within the human condition. She sanctions that it’s fine to fall short; one is not expected to know the name of the ‘purple thing newly come out on the hill’ (Time Capsule), the point is to notice it.

     “As a human being, she says, one is learning constantly and ad infinitum. She notes the shift in priorities following the birth of a child in The First Wasp and how the newly acquired responsibilities seem daunting to the parent. She relates a personal, one-sided conversation with the new born child in Catching the Light and a poignant, yet fresh look at death in Your Grandfathers Feet.
Carolyn Oulton
       “These poems reflect the incessant coming in and passing away in the circle of life.
      “Oulton touches upon the inadequacy of language to describe these new feelings in Away, as if language has the potential to corrupt: ‘... and I knew it, some things / should not be touched with words’. She’s interested in the grass roots of language: ‘... You’re inheriting words that were mispronunciations / of hers that we all now use ...’ (Details of the Child).
      Adept at the art of juxtaposition, in After and Between Days she juxtaposes death surprisingly with orange pips. The success of this collection is in its fresh and vital imagery.
      “Written in the vernacular, these poems are accessible and are reminiscent of the prose of Virginia Woolf inasmuch as they document the poet’s rapid thought processes in a subtle stream-of-consciousness; this results in a bravely intimate read.
       “There is no doubt that the poet has laid herself, and her soul, wide open. Oulton’s resolute faith is important and it is acknowledged in poems such as Sticking in the Wind and In Real Life.
      “This work is multi-faceted and should be regarded as a palimpsest of sensations as Oulton layers humour in To Tom in a Whisper, over pathos in Last Dance, over the pedestrian in After Melissa Gave Me a Leaf on the Way to School. This collection of poetry is more than the sum of itself and Oulton achieves all of this without an abstract noun in sight.”

Carolyn Oulton’s previous poetry publications are: The Rain (Sol 2000) and Left Past the Moon (National Poetry Foundation 2001). She has recently also published Let the Flowers Go: A Life of Mary Cholmondeley (Pickering & Chatto).

BeWrite Poetry Editor is Sam Smith. Cover art, internal text design and technical creation of print and all digital editions is by Tony Szmuk.

Available AS OF FRIDAY JUNE 10 at all major online stores or on order from your local brick and mortar book store if there's not a copy on the shelf. It is also available from the publisher, BeWrite Books, in paperback and all popular ebook editions HERE or by clicking on our ‘open book’ icon in the top right margin of this article. By visiting the bookstore section of the BeWrite Books site, you can read more about Carolyn and about the book and freely read extracts from A Child, A Birth and the Making of the Fairy Tale Woman.

And a PS to poetry lovers. Please take a look at the BeWrite Books blog post below this (POETRY IN MOTION). Included in the article is a short video by BeWrite Books technical and design editor, Tony Szmuk, in which he demonstrates the presentation of a BB poetry book – complete with the complex layout sometimes required for poetry. It features Carolyn’s A Child, a Death and the Making of the Fairy Tale Woman and next month’s new BB poetry release, Stick Figures, by Kirsten Holmes.

Best wishes. Happy week. Neil Marr


  1. It's so good to see a great poetry collection given life like this. Well done Carolyn Oulton, the team has done you proud.

  2. Thanks, Rosanne. And thank you, Sue, for your enthusiastic review and warm encouragement. Highly prized. Bestests. Neil