‘A mountain that is your grief you can’t utter’

Helen has been awarded a professional development grant to write her second poetry collection, ‘A mountain that is your grief you can’t utter’.

Read all about it below. . .


I’m delighted to announce that I have been awarded a grant from Arts Council England to support the creation and development of my next poetry collection, with the working title ‘A mountain that is your grief you can’t utter’.

This step in my career is an important one, allowing me invaluable time the explore new, and deeply personal themes within my work. As many of you know, anthology Eighty Four was inspired by the sudden loss of my brother to suicide, who passed away in September 2017. The shift in creative focus and personal perspective brought about by this life-changing event, will be at the heart of this new writing project.

I will share works-in-progress, and my experiences of writing about trauma and grief with writing communities online, with established writers’ groups, and in education settings. Poems and updates will be posted here, on the blog section of my website. All feedback and thoughts will be encouraged, and a useful part of the editorial process.

What do I hope to achieve?

In short? I hope to find the words to express my grief.

Loss itself is a long and difficult journey. Articulating this journey is a whole other matter; a river beside the road that, even if seeming too dark, or too deep, is worth wading in…

The long version? Stick around to find out! Blog posting will begin Wednesday 7th May. Comments will be open.

Who will I be working with?

I will be delivering a trauma writing workshop for The Poetry School, and working closely with Writing West Midlands on broadening audiences scope for the new work. I’m delighted to be working with Mario Petrucci again, who will act as editor and mentor. Publishers, Faber, Nine Arches Press, Vanguard Editions, and Verve, have all agreed to read the completed manuscript. 

With thanks…

Deepest thanks to Will at The Poetry School, my father David Calcutt, Jonathan Davidson, Peter Stone from ace_national for your support and guidance, and Victoria Richards for contributing a wonderful critical review to the submission.




Unbound essay – Is conversation dead?

My essay on the art of conversation has been published by Boundless. Here’s a quote to get you in the mood for reading…

In 1996, Raymond Carver, wrote, ‘There is no God, and conversation is a dying art.’ The quote features in his collected poems, All of Us, that among many things, explores loneliness and isolation. I look at society today, and can’t help think we’re somehow there, in that lonely room without company. And what’s depressing is that it seems to be by choice.

I’m not saying that we are all trapped in a physical space we can’t escape. It’s our thinking to which I’m referring. We seem increasingly isolated from each other, and each other’s minds, and living in this socially disjointed and uninspired way may not only be having an impact of our own sense of self worth, but also our understanding of what it is to be human. 

Read the full article here: https://unbound.com/boundless/2019/02/05/conversation-as-art/

Tweet thoughts @HelenCalcutt

Guardian Opinions – don’t hide your grief from your children


My new op-ed piece for The Guardian on grief, and parenthood. Here’s a snippet, and you can read the rest here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/18/dont-hide-grief-children-emotional-understanding

The morning I discovered my brother Matthew had died, there was no hiding it. The shock sent me into a volatile state. I threw the phone against the wall, shattering it, then hurled myself into the front room of the house, banging the doors and walls and weeping, while my daughter sat listening at the top of the stairs. Hours later we were at my parents’ house, where everyone in the family had gathered, and over the next 48 hours, she experienced all the sights and sounds of our collective and profound loss.