Waiting for Bluebeard tries to understand how a girl could grow up to be the woman living in Bluebeard’s house. The story begins with a part-remembered, part-imagined childhood, where seances are held, and a father drowns in oil beneath the skeleton of his car. When her childhood home coughs up birds in the parlour, the girl enters Bluebeard’s house paying the tariff of a single layer of skin. This is only the first stage of her disappearing, as she searches for a phantom child in a house where Bluebeard haunts the corridors like a sobbing wolf.
Waiting for Bluebeard is Helen Ivory's fourth book of poems.
'Helen Ivory creates a troubled yet beguiling world rich in irony and disquiet. She possesses a strongly-grounded narrative voice which, combined with her dextrous transformative takes both on reality and on what lies beyond reality’s surface, puts one in mind of the darker side of Stevie Smith who said that poetry "is a strong explosion in the sky".' – Penelope Shuttle.
‘A direct approach, via deep folklore and dream imagery, to the conundrum of being a woman…in keeping with what I think we mean when we say "women’s writing". This book is mischievously dark, rich with anti-logic and harnessed to the power of something we used to call magic’ – Katy Evans-Bush.
'She is a visually precise poet, with the gift of creating stunning images with an economy of means…Ivory has established an eerily engaging style. Her poems are like mobiles suspended on invisible threads, charming to watch as they seem to spin by themselves in the air, but capable of administering more than a paper cut on the sensibility of the reader' – James Sutherland-Smith.
Helen Ivory reads her poems
Helen Ivory reads a set of nine poems: 'Learning to Talk', 'Alchemy', The Disappearing' and 'Missing You Spell' from her second collection The Dog in the Sky (2006), and 'Magicians', 'Bedtime Story', 'Sleep' and 'The Beginning' from her third, The Breakfast Machine (2010). Neil Astley filmed Helen Ivory at her home in Norwich in November 2009.
Not currently available: reprint under consideration