I made a pillow out of iron, a pair of shoes,
I made a tutu, my mother’s hat,
iron lashes for my eyes, iron fingernails,
I made myself a bridle and a belt.
I made a baby out of iron, I hammered out
a tree in bud, a nest of yellow beaks.
I smelted, riveted, cast my hands
into bellows. I blew a cumulus of sparks –
they found the corners of a room,
a hidden silhouette, they settled 
on a dusty charcoal bed
and from the shadows made a forge.

by Jackie Wills

‘Blacksmith’ by Jackie Wills is copyright © Jackie Wills, 2013. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Woman’s Head as Jug  (Arc Publications, 2013).

Notes from Arc Publications:

Jackie Wills has published three collections of poetry with Arc Publications, and one with Leviathan. Powder Tower was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and Wills was shortlisted for the 1995 T.S. Eliot prize. In 2004, Mslexia magazine named her one of the 10 new woman poets of the decade. Born in Wiltshire, Wills now lives in Brighton. She was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the universities of Surrey and Sussex between 2009 and 2012.

Woman’s Head as Jug is about women’s experiences of work, the city, menopause and ancestry. The poems have a touch as deft as the seamstresses and other craftspeople who populate the book. They are funny, political and lyrical. Read more about the collection at Arc’s site or from Jackie Wills’ own blog.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.