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Helen Tookey

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  • Helen Tookey was born near Leicester in 1969. She is now based in Liverpool, where she teaches creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University. She studied philosophy and English literature at university, and has published critical work about writers including Anaïs Nin and Malcolm Lowry. Her debut collection Missel-Child (Carcanet, 2014) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney first collection prize. Her pamphlet In the Glasshouse was published by HappenStance Press in 2016, and the CD/booklet If You Put Out Your Hand, a collaboration with musician Sharron Kraus, came out from Wounded Wolf Press in 2016. She has recently been collaborating with composer and sound artist Martin Heslop, putting text together with electronic soundscapes.
    'The city in Tookey's City of Departures is full of the excitements of history and chance, and the chances taken to make a kind of radiant sense of the world, in all its breakings-down and might-have-beens, which is exactly what, time and again, these beautiful poems do.'
    Jacob Polley
    'Missel-Child is an exceptional volume. Some of the subject-matter is found, some comes from a powerful and intelligent imagination and from keen observation. All is embodied in a language that is sensuous and strong.'
    Jeffrey Wainwright
    'The diction is unexpected, apt and deeply satisfying, focusing the reader not only on the words chosen, but also on the ghosts and resonances of those that might have been there.'
    Carola Luther
    'Her quiet, precise poems have a genuine eeriness. She has interests in both archaeology and psychology, but knows intuitively that they aren't separate -- that when we dig up the past it's our own roots we are looking at.'
    Grevel Lindop
    Awards won by Helen Tookey Short-listed, 2019 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (City of Departures) Short-listed, 2015 Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection (Missel-Child)
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