Inside The Breakfast Machine a chicken on squeaky tin legs is cooking you eggs and a squirrel plays tape-recorded birdsong high up in a tree. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse high-tail it into town as cowboys, and the fate of the world is decided by a game of cards.
The Breakfast Machine is driven by the transformations of fairytale where the dark corners of childhood are explored and found to be alive and well in offices, kitchens and hen-houses.
There is more than a hint of East European darkness in Helen Ivory’s third collection, which sits more comfortably alongside the animations of Jan Svankmajer than any English poetic tradition.
'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". The Breakfast Machine is such an explosion in the sky of contemporary poetry' – Penelope Shuttle.
‘Ivory’s language, seemingly innocuous, sometimes almost deadpan, is in fact highly and instinctively wrought to contain the elusive resonance of her subject-matter…myth, madness, dislocation of self, shifting intent of narrator and her quixotic elemental world…They capture the imagination at full strength. Prepare, therefore, to be disturbed’ – Sarah Law, Stride.
'Finally for something completely different. The Dog in the Sky twitches the dark…lighthearted personae play against a cosmic shiver. Any surrealism relies on a certain passionate madness' – Judith Kazantzis, Poetry Review.
'Ivory’s particular trick of capturing reality from a slightly surreal angle, makes the heart race a little' – Helena Nelson, Ambit.
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.