Wild Chamomile conjures an evocative landscape of childhood summers, picturesque farms, wondrous creatures; an age of becoming. Each piece feels like unearthing a memory, a core of magic, a growing awareness of darkness, storms, decay, illness, nature, humanity; the realisation of death, consequences, secrets - tethering this to the present, adulthood, themes of grief, loneliness, family. Elisabeth Kelly uses rich, striking language to draw the reader into these powerfully nostalgic pieces, crafting an aura of warmth, sinking into roots, briers, mud; this book waits to be devoured.
Louise Mather, author of The Dredging of Rituals
Told from a child's point of view in rural Cumbria, Kelly's Wild Chamomile immediately transported me back to my own childhood with sensory detail about a new, smart pair of shoes. And I stayed there, re-living the magic as well as the horror: the first experiences with death alongside the myths of childhood - what does happen if you press your belly button too hard? Kelly's attention to detail made the reading experience so immersive! Underneath these details - such as having digestive biscuits for pudding - there are devastating conclusions which you can see will shape the poet's future self. "It stays, this dismissal of absolute power, this belittling of dominance. It stays." Powerful and beautifully written.
Nicola Ashbrook, author of Mae In Quinquennia
In this compact collection of prose and free-verse poetry, Elisabeth Kelly takes the reader by the hand and transports them to a time when one's family made up the entire universe, and children were wild, and at the mercy of bulls, bullies and older brothers--all forces greater than themselves. In each of these sometimes bucolic, sometime harrowing poems, we are invited to witness the inconsistency of childhood memories, gentle unpicking of innocence, and the ruthlessness of natural selection. The subtle way Kelly folds an immensity of fear, grief, regret and hope into sheep's wool, hay bales and mud can only be described as masterful, and is guaranteed to leave the reader thirsty for more, like a farm-hand on a hot summer's day.
Elizabeth M. Castillo, poet, writer & indie-press promoter, and author of Cajoncito