Still Born

Still Born – The book

1st Edition

The Still Born book was first published in 2018 with the help of Arts Council funding. It aims to lift some of the taboos on the delicate subject matter of stillbirth, speaking through art and poetry about the emotions that arise in the days, months and years that follow a stillbirth. Adinda’s body of work on the theme of stillbirth was used as a starting point to invite ekphrastic poetry from.

First edition front cover
First edition front cover
First edition, a page spread
First edition, a page spread
First edition, a page spread
First edition, a page spread

Sample pages from the book

Eight poets were selected from a national open call, a process jointly managed with New Writing North. Selected poets Roger Bloor, Christine Bousfield, Jennie Farley, Rebecca Goss, Sarah James, Claire Potter and Wendy Pratt were asked to produce a poem in response to a single artwork each and Karen McCarthy Woolf who was part of the original funding application responded to three artworks. The book further includes a text by stillbirth specialist and obstetrician Alexander Heazell of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre at the University of Manchester and a text by Adinda van ’t Klooster explaining the individual artworks. The book is currently available in our online shop here.

The poems have been written in direct response to the artwork and engage with the central theme of loss. Some of the poets have their own personal experience of stillbirth, miscarriage or the death of a baby later in life, and some have witnessed the loss and pain of stillbirth in others.

Book details: Perfect bound paperback, 44 pages, printed in full colour
Publisher: Affect Formations Publishing (2018)
Language: English
ASIN: 1999965709

2nd Edition

In 2020 further funding from the Arts Council allowed for the book to be adapted and printed as a second edition expanded with images of the new online artwork Each Egg a World Online and an article exploring how an artwork like this can help break the taboo on stillbirth. This second edition of the Still Born book is now available for only £ 25 from our online shop here.

Book details: Perfect bound paperback, 56 pages, printed in full colour
Publisher: Affect Formations Publishing (2021)
Language: English
ASIN: 1999965723

More about the participating poets

Roger Bloor’s poems have many influences and origins, some relating to his experiences as a doctor providing psychological support to women following stillbirth and miscarriage. He has an MA in Poetry Writing and won the Poetry London Clore Prize 2019.

Christine Bousfield’s poems have appeared in publications including The North, Envoi, Aesthetica and Dreamcatcher, as well as on BBC4 and radio. Her first book She Looks out of My Face (Indigo Dreams) was published in 2011, and her latest collection is Granny Knot (Cinnamon Press 2018).

Jennie Farley is a poet and teacher whose work has featured in magazines and anthologies. Her collections My Grandmother Skating (2016) and Hex (2018) are published by Indigo Dreams. She regularly performs at festivals, and runs workshops for Cheltenham’s Wilson Museum & Art Gallery and Everyman Theatre.

Rebecca Goss’ second collection Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House 2013) tells the story of love, loss and grief for a baby daughter. It won the East Anglian Book Awards 2013 Poetry category and was shortlisted for The Forward Prize 2013, The Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 and The Portico Prize for Literature 2015.

Sarah James is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist, and author of eight poetry titles, a touring poetry-play and two novellas. Her work deals with themes of loss, troubled motherhood and recovery in plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press), The Magnetic Diaries (KFS) and Kaleidoscope (Mantle Lane Press).

Karen McCarthy Woolf’s Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet 2017) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and a Guardian Book of the Year. Her first collection An Aviary of Small Birds (Carcanet 2014), a book of elegies that commemorates a stillborn son, was nominated for the Forward and Aldeburgh Best First Collection Prizes.

Claire Potter is author of the poetry books, Swallow (Five Islands Press 2010), N’ombre (Vagabond 2007) and In Front of a Comma (Poets Union 2006). Her poetry has been widely published, and her poem “Ex-voto” on miscarriage and stillbirth was shortlisted for the Keats-Shelley Poetry Award 2017. She lives and works in London.

Wendy Pratt is an award winning poet, freelance writer and workshop facilitator living on the East coast in North Yorkshire. Her latest collection Gifts the Mole Gave Me is published by Valley Press.

The Still Born project has been supported by