138 x 216mm


34 pages


£6.00 + P&P UK


PUB: 25/03/2021










First Memories


Golden curtains

swaying in the breeze.


Sunlight, warmth,

the window beyond.


The rails of the cot,

an obstacle to my want.


Hypotheses, methods,

wriggling through my mind.


Limbs full of energy,

a talent for escape,


Mum and Dad asleep in bed,

surprised, though pleased, to see me.





Russian Doll


I am heavy with the hopes

of my younger selves – the ones

who dreamt of all I could be.


They call to me, disappointed,

as my once-bright dress

begins to dull, as I thin


and am worn smooth by little hands

that dismantle me daily.

I answer with excuses and apologies.


Life intrudes, I explain;

takes us apart

and rebuilds us askew.



T Bellamy amend 978-1-912876-49-5

Russian Doll


Teika Marija Smits




The poems of Russian Doll tell a story of metamorphosis and becoming. Charting the ever-shifting terrain of selfhood, they speak of the joys and challenges of being both daughter and mother; schoolgirl and middle-aged woman; and detail the many ways in which the stories of our lives are as multicoloured and multilayered as a Russian doll.




“This moving collection is alive with vivid characters and the longing, living and learning of love, belonging, and sometimes loss – in family, friendship, life. Here, Smits’s Russian doll is mother and child, fake news and Death’s toy, all contained within poems as layered and expansive as a set of matryoshka dolls, slowly revealing their secrets.”

Sarah James


Russian Doll is a sensory collection: full of light, heat, colour. The poems are layered, fragmented and connected; like the nest of wooden dolls: shining dolls, shamed dolls, sad dolls; big dolls, sick dolls, baby dolls. They chart the complexity of human relations and shine with intelligence and care; craft and curiosity. This is a collection to be savoured, to be shared and to be read again.”

Dr Rachel Bower


Teika Marija Smits is a writer, freelance editor and mother-of-two. Her poems have been widely published.


Teika was formerly the managing editor of Mother’s Milk Books and is now an Editor-at-Large at Valley Press alongside running The Book Stewards – a writers’ support site that she manages with her husband.


In her spare moments she likes to doodle, draw and paint.

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