Jennie Farley began her career as a young journalist working on a film about a nine-man expedition to the Jordanian desert and, as a result, was voted one of the 100 Women of the Year.  


This led to more adventures, and more journalism in London including work on celebrity pop and television magzines in the 1970s.  


She left London and settled in Cheltenham, teaching journalism and creative writing in adult education and at undergraduate level, and is now very active in the local poetry scene.


Jennie has performed her work at events including the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Swindon Poetry Festival and  Cheltenham Poetry Festival, and has had poems placed or commended in national competitions. She organises arts events and workshops, and is leader of an all-women poetry troupe, Picaresque, founded in 2014.


Jennie's poetry has been published in Slow Dancer, Under the Radar, The Interpreter's House, New Welsh Review, Oxford Poetry, Lunar Poetry, Prole and various anthologies.


Her earlier collection Masks & Feathers was launched at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival in 2012 and her pamphlet Jocasta's Song, (Griffin Press), a contemporary feminist take on twelve Greek goddesses, was published in 2015.


Jennie was commissioned with 8 poets to write a poem for a project Still Born initiated by acclaimed artist Adinda van 't Klooster to raise awareness of stillbirth through art and poetry.










138 x 216mm


62 pages


£7.99 + P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-910834-23-7


PUB:  25th NOVEMBER 2016










Jennie Farley's new collection of poetry is inspired by the extraordinary in the everyday.  She introduces us to a fabulous cast of characters, from a king who believes he is made of glass to a girl who was raised by wolves, all of whom have their own unique take on the world.  Drawing on magic, myth, and fairytale, Farley holds up a mirror to our contemporary reality.




"Jennie Farley’s poems hijack history, myth, legend and fairytale to produce sly and subversive explorations of female subjectivity.  Full of luscious language and surreal imagination, these poems are like Angela Carter rewritten by Selima Hill.  Like the grandmother in the title poem, Farley never loses her balance.  This is an intriguing and graceful collection."

David Clarke


"Jennie Farley’s collection rings with echoes of myths and fairy stories, transformations and tragedies. It is inhabited by wolves, horses, doves, lions, angels, all sensuously underpinned with passion and hints at sin, rebellion and loss.

A collection rich with imagery and colour."

Lesley Ingram


"The poems of My Grandmother Skating carry the reader, on their exuberant flow, into intriguing adult dramas and child-like wonder.  Jennie Farley’s engaging work captures both the settled warmth of daily life and the untamed wildness of imagination."

Alison Brackenbury


"In this engaging collection, Jennie Farley negotiates the slippery territory between myth, memory and imagination with assurance, sometimes leaving the reader on

a slippery/web of pavements where only the senses speak (Streets)  Her language is fresh and controlled and she has a deft touch with image and metaphor.  A pleasure to read."

Angela France


"Jennie Farley is a master story-teller.  She has delivered some fantastical narrative poems in My Grandmother Skating.  These are not always easy tales and monologues, but they have been told with skill and a sensitive, but brave mind.  Get ready to gasp, be shocked, be excited! 'It's what we carry with us …"

Hilda Sheehan



My Grandmother Skating


Jennie Farley

Hollywood Nails


She’s gone to get her nails done:

it always cheers her up.

A burlesque of gloss and glitter:

Alchemy, Rouge Noir, Rebel.

She spreads her hands

as if in supplication.


Soft fingers smooth

her scrubbed-raw thumbs.

A neat silver file

pares away domestic dross:

soapsuds, beer stains, nappies.


She drifts on lotus-scented clouds

amid the chirruping

of tiny Oriental birds.


Now, buffed and bright,

her fingertips take charge,

touching her life to light.

Swaying homeward

along the willow walk

proud in fine silks,

she unfurls

her gold-thread sleeves,

rasps her blood-red nails

along the birdcage bars,

hears her pet lark sing.




My Grandmother Skating

i.m. Mary Elizabeth, my maternal grandmother.


That woman skating

against a winter sky,

her blades making


sure arcs on

the ice, alone

and concentrating only


on the moment

as she skates perfect circles,

is my grandmother.


Maybe it is

her sewing she thinks of,

on her way to Boston


to buy pearl buttons

and ribbon, or the fruit pie

she will bake


for Alfred’s tea, the man

who years ahead

will be my grandfather.


As the huge sun fires

the horizon’s dip and

her breath smokes white


banners on the frosted

air, she lifts wide

her skater’s arms,


her gaze containing

fen, dyke, spire, then rising

to seek distances beyond the flatlands,


and gallantly strikes out, steel

following steel, in ever

widening perspectives.


Elvis Presley’s Other Daughter  


You’ve no idea how long it took

for me to learn to stand this way,

the hip jutting, my hand thrusting


the pocket of my satin jumpsuit.

I’ve perfected the sneer. Everyone says

I am quite as pretty as you, my eyes


the same Hawaiian blue. Your Memphis

tomb soars in a sea of leaves. My mother

watched your funeral on TV. She wears


a slick of your hair close to her heart

and, lonesome, waits forever for your roses.

This is my story now. I dream


in marble light, shrugging my hip

as I stride soundless in my blue suede shoes

through empty halls. A single grace note


from a beat-up guitar sends echoes

rocking and rolling over the fallen leaves.





That Time of Evening


In the slant Sunday evening dusk

church bells peal, a scraping spade recalls

the glossy purple-black of plumes and horses,

iron wheels on cobbles.


Here comes the Preacher,

black book tucked beneath his arm.

His sermons are enough to unsettle the sun.

Tweed-capped lads bowl hoops, small girls

with hands in muffs trail boughs of holly.

Christmas card effects, but the Soul knows darker.


The Irishman with the lame white dog

loiters at the gate. Soon Old Leary

will come and touch the street to light.

The past is now. It might be

the ghastly clanging of tin cans

or a sweet bird singing.

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