Shirley Bell has changed from a young mother into a grandmother over the course of this collection. She had two stillbirths which profoundly affected her early writing. Her father’s death when she was 13, her mother’s recent decline into dementia and death and her husband’s struggle with stroke, a heart bypass and Parkinson’s also enter the book. But alongside this, there is profound love for her husband, children and grandchildren.
The poems speak about the power of landscape, storytelling, myth and the darker side of fairy tales, along with current issues. She has a strong spiritual sense which is expressed in her religious poems.
Because her writing echoes the experiences of many others, readers will identify with the work and find solace. There are many other poems which intrigue and entertain, and all the poems are strong, vivid and rich in imagery and description.
Shirley Bell has been writing poetry since the 1980s. Her work covers the inevitable experiences of illness and loss, alongside her profound love for her husband, children, and grandchildren. The power of landscape, storytelling, and myth also feature strongly.
Large selections of her poetry were anthologised by Faber and Faber, Anvil Poetry, and Ian McMillan. She has several chapbooks and a 2018 collection, The Still Room. Her work is archived in the Special Collection in the University of Lincoln’s Library. She has read widely across the UK and worked as a workshop tutor, magazine editor, reviewer, and publisher.