138 x 216mm


34 pages


£6.00+ P&P UK


ISBN 978-1-912876-38-9


PUB: 17/08/2020










To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre


Victoria Bennett






These poems are an intimate meditation on love and loss, told by a daughter as she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. The poet invites the reader to be witness to the private moments of dying, from the physical reality of caregiving through to the alchemy of death, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief.

Honest, unsentimental, and quietly uplifting.



“Exquisite poems, tough and tender in turns.

These are moving meditations on loss and loving-kindness by a daughter to her mother: a gift to anyone who is alongside a loved one in their dying time.”

Tanya Shadrick 

Editor of ‘Wild Woman Swimming’


“Bennett’s poetry is controlled, spare and with the particular magic of inviting the reader in right-up-close. An agonisingly beautiful, closely observed and compassionate love letter and leave-taking for a much loved mother.”

Deborah Alma

Poet, Editor and Founder of The Poetry Pharmacy  


“This collection is a journey into loss: not the big crashing ideas of death, but the gentle; quiet hours of waiting and the delicate structuring and un-structuring of routine around the inevitable. Skilful, moving and careful with no head first fall into sentimentality, these are poems that translate the language of humanity into art and in doing so benefit all.”

Wendy Pratt

Poet, Editor

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre


It is enough

to feel

the pebble roll

in my hand,


to curl, cat-like,

warm in the sun,

into an hour

of not doing,


to stand, long enough

to hear the curlew call;

to remember our lives

opening to it all.


The Suede Shoes

after Thich Nhat Hanh


No good news from now

the doctor told us.

The nurse cried.

You did not.


I spend my days on the telephone,

searching for certainties:

names, dates, results,

chasing facts like dandelion wisps,

running out of time.


Sometimes, we talk about death.

Mostly, we talk about hospitals.

Bit by bit, their language claims us.


Meanwhile, the hen scratches

around the tree and the bees

collect nectar from a creeping vine.

The sun finally shines.


This is our in-between

living-and-dying time.


Why bother planting that seed?

Why turn the beds

for a summer that will never come?

Why bother buying the pretty suede shoes?










Victoria Bennett was born in 1971. She is the founder of the grassroots arts collective, Wild Women Press and has spent the last twenty years curating platforms for women to share ideas, stories, inspirations, and actions for positive change.


She holds an MA in Creative Writing and has three decades experience working as a freelance writer and artist.  Her writing has won the Andrew Waterhouse Poetry Award, the Mother's Milk Writing Prize, and a Northern Debut Award. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies and she has published four other poetry pamphlets. Her work-in-progress memoir, 'All My Wild Mothers', was long-listed for the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019 and the Penguin #WriteNow2020 programme.


Victoria is currently undertaking her MRes in Creative Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands (Shetland), exploring narratives of absence within landscapes of personal and ecological loss. She is a director of The Wizard and The Wyld Ltd, creating immersive playable poetry within video-game platforms. A frequent digital collaborator, she interested in how poetry and new technologies can be used to create meaningful and authentic narratives.


Victoria lives and works in rural Cumbria with her husband and son. Diagnosed with a collision of rare genetic diseases, she juggles a rebellious body with writing and full-time care. When not juggling, she can be found where the wild things are.

author amend 978-1-912876-38-9