Helen Farish

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Helen Farish (born 1962 Cumbria) is a British poet.


She received her B.A. from University of Durham, M.A. and Ph.D. from Oxford Brookes University.

She lectured in creative writing at Sheffield Hallam University.[1]

She has been a Fellow at Hawthornden International Centre for Writers and was the first female Poet in Residence at the Wordsworth Trust (2004-5). She has also been a Visiting Lecturer at Sewanee University, and a Visiting Scholar at the University of New Hampshire.

Beginning 2007, she lectures full-time at Lancaster University, in the department of English and Creative Writing.[2]

She now lives in Cumbria.




  • Sex, God and Grief in the Poetry of Sharon Olds and Louise Glück


Helen Farish's intensely suggestive title is central to the tone and impact of her book, which has won the 2005 Forward best first collection prize. As a noun, it promises secrets and, true to her word, Farish lifts the lid on the minutiae of her life, furnishing her poems with personal possessions ("my father's dressing gown", "the advent calendar / John made me") and unveiling and discussing her body and sexuality. As a verb, however, it hints and alludes, undercutting the simplicity of her physical candour. In the opening poem, the first impression of blithe self-assurance ("Seeing you makes me want to lift up my top, / breathe in and say Look! Look at these!") is subverted by the final line when the speaker retreats into defensiveness, anxiously pleading "Don't tell me not to."[3]


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