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  • Helen Bowell

Pamphlet Announcement & Ledbury Poetry Critics

Updated: May 10

I'm so happy to say that my debut pamphlet is going to be published with Bad Betty Press in 2022!


The poems in it follow the relationship between the speaker and 'the barman', a character who is never named. So the book is obviously about the relationship, but it's also conscious of existing within a wider social context. The barman is a straight white dude, and sometimes that means he has trouble understanding the speaker's queer Asian perspective.


I'm really, really excited to have this fun series of poems published by Bad Betty Press. I love their books and their poets, and I can't wait to work with them. I'm especially delighted to find out that they're also publishing Shanay Neusum-James's debut pamphlet too, meaning that Bad Betty are publishing or have published three of the current Roundhouse Poetry Collective cohort. (Big up Troy Cabida, who still needs to sign my copy of War Dove.)


You can read some of my published barman poems here (only the bath magg one is online I'm afraid, but you can watch me reading 'Barman in Eden' below!):

  • ​‘Together We’ll Meet In Down-Facing Dog’ - commended, Mslexia Poetry Competition 2020

  • 'Lobster' - bath magg (issue 3, 2020)

  • ‘Barman in Lockdown’, Poetry Birmingham (issue 5, 2020)

  • 'Barman in Eden' - Tomorrow (Bronze winner, Creative Future Writers' Award 2020)

In other news (it's been a big news month), I've recently been accepted onto the next cohort of Ledbury Poetry Critics, a year-long mentoring programme to sharpen my skills in poetry criticism. I'm so excited to start writing critically again, and I've already loved being in this community of poets of colour. My mentor is Leo Boix, who so far is proving to be an absolute dream. His collection Ballad of a Happy Immigrant is being published by Penguin next month and I can't wait to get my copy.


In my new guise as a critic, so far I've been commissioned by Poetry Wales to review two essay collections (which will be published in their next issue) and Asian Books Blog to review a poetry collection. Watch this space!

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