27 July 2008

My Iron Spine update

Publication edges closer!

As I mentioned earlier, My Iron Spine is going to be launched at the second of three Winter Readings, on 28 August. Soon after (date not yet confirmed) we'll be having another launch party, hopefully in the Arts Centre Gallery.

Tim Jones was kind enough to include the cover of My Iron Spine in a list of 'likeable things' (along with Sean's blog), which was lovely. We've since slightly changed the cover - this is the new version. The title needed to stand out a bit more, and now the text creates a sort of spinal column. I also like that, because the text is left justified rather than centred, it feels just slightly off balance.

And now My Iron Spine even has a back cover blurb:

The things that give us strength are often the same things that suffocate or cage us.

Empress Elisabeth’s iron spine was her corset, tightly laced, constricting her but giving her backbone. Reclusive poet Emily Dickinson found caged comfort in her room. Ada Byron’s mother tried corseting her with numbers, to counteract the madness she may have inherited from her father.

Other characters in the poems of Helen Rickerby’s new collection My Iron Spine, including the poet herself, find ‘iron spines’ in family, love, society, isolation, religion, knowledge and radiation.

The first section weaves an autobiographical narrative, while the second exquisitely brings to life the stories and voices of women from history. The two combine in the final section, where the poet sunbathes with Joan of Arc, goes swimming with Virginia Woolf and parties with Katherine Mansfield.

The poems in this original and playful collection resonate and connect with each other, building a coherent whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Helen Rickerby’s first collection, Abstract Internal Furniture (HeadworX 2001), was described as ‘an avant-garde, indoor garden full of strange images and intriguing ideas where things turn topsy-turvy’ (Harvey McQueen, New Zealand Books). She was a co-founder, and now co-managing editor, of JAAM magazine, and runs the small publishing company Seraph Press. She lives in Wellington, where she is employed as an editor.

7 comments:

Sean said...

As you know, I think it's an inspiring collection and a real growth from your first book.

I hope it finds the audience it really deserves.

Helen Rickerby said...

That's very sweet of you, though obviously you are biased. I'm pretty happy with it myself, and so long as there are a few people who respond to it, and find it means something to them, that's enough for me.

Colleen said...

Very nice! I'm looking forward to this after reading so much about the book on your blog. I'm particularly interested in your use of women from history - that's one of my favorite subjects to play with, and yours sound quite interesting. I also love the cover art - very striking and bold!

Tim Jones said...

That's a good blurb. The phrase that stood out for me was the ominous "goes swimming with Virginia Woolf" - though I may be completely misreading the significance of this. I shall have to wait to read the book to find out!

Jennifer Sullivan said...

How can I order a copy? I can't wait to read it. Congrats.

Helen Rickerby said...

Thank you all, I really appreciate your comments.

Tim, you correctly read the allusion, but it is quite a positive poem really - no-one is drowning in my poem.

Jennifer, I'll send you a copy (sorry I haven't yet sent you the other things I said I'd send - but then you were in Ireland I've been quite procrastinatory), but they can probably be ordered through my publisher, HeadworX, or via me, because I'll have a stash of my own.

harvey molloy said...

I'm looking forward to it Helen.