The Dog in the Sky offers a view of the world that is skewed, vibrant and larger than life. Here words turn into tiger-moths or laughing birds, the Minotaur finds his Ariadne and Pinochio’s sister cuts loose from her strings. The Dog in the Sky is drunk on life, on love, on air thick with peach light, but also shows the flipside where you can’t trust the earth beneath your feet.
In her second collection, Helen Ivory takes you further into a world of illusions and transformations. Here are voices lost inside mental illness, divided and diverting selves as well as sinister figures who control their madness and make things happen. She creates puppet shows in which larger-than-life forces pull the strings and write the scripts, drawing also from the darkly dramatic world of fairytale and myth.
‘There is something subtle and unique about Helen Ivory's writing. You can see the shadows she moves among, the fabulists and fantasists, but there is a numbed, almost purely narrative quality to the voice which destabilises itself as it goes along. Her best poems are quite exquisite, not so much a matter of known poetic craft as of vision, instinct and frayed edgy experience playing it dead straight’ – George Szirtes
‘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
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.