Homestead by Becky Cherriman

In celebration of National Poetry Day, Becky Cherriman gives us Homestead from her first full collection, Empires of Clay, which will be launched in Leeds on Tuesday 8th November at the Leeds Library.



In the dented leather chest she’d taken to boarding school,

I found a farm with tin animals as small as my fingernails –

two cows, five pigs, a horse and a whitewashed barn with a red roof.


I didn’t expect the baboon, which must have escaped

from a zoo or some other safari set.

Its claws were disembowelling a pig and it was baring its teeth at the horse.


I imagined it sneaking up on the cows at night, skinning them while they slept

like my grandmother’s father who defleshed so many hides

he bequeathed a small fortune, liming the family pockets in cyanide.


Poetry Collection Launch – Empires of Clay

dsc_0055-1Becky will be joined by poet Steve Ely for the launch of  her first poetry collection, Empires of Clay at 7pm  on Tuesday  8th November at the Leeds Library. This is a free event but please register your attendance by emailing or telephone 0113 245 3071. You can read more here.

Becky Cherriman is a writer, workshop leader and performer based in Leeds. Published by Mslexia, New Walk, Envoi, Mother’s Milk, Bloodaxe, Well Versed and in Poets For Corbyn, she was resident poet for Morley Literature Festival in 2013. This year Becky co-wrote and performed in Haunt, an Imove site-specific theatre commission and project that worked with people experiencing homelessness in Harrogate. She frequently collaborates with communities to help them tell their stories and was lead artist for Altofts Festival In A Day. Current work includes Alice In Bloomers, an Arts Council and Leeds Inspired funded project inspired by historical Morley woman, Alice Cliff Scatcherd.

Becky’s first poetry pamphlet Echolocation, on the theme of mothering, was published this year by Mother’s Milk. Empires of Clay is her first poetry collection and is published by Cinnamon Press. Spanning territory from self-harming to single motherhood, from austerity to living with wolves, these are a vibrant, evocative and challenging poems that resonate long after reading, impressing their distinctive and humane narratives onto us.

Becky’s photo is by Layla Legard.



Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend and the Northern Short Story Festival. She continues to be its Director.

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