Winner of the 2020 International Book & Pamphlet Competition judged by Imtiaz Dharker & Ian McMillan

When I Think of My Body as a Horse is packed with images of the body in transformation of one kind or another, from the very first ‘nothing to me now / but a sudden startle of feathers’ to the title poem, ‘another thing / I need to love and care for. // We do not share a language’. Through cycles of pregnancy and grief, there is an animal momentum to the poems that gives the whole sequence its sustained power.

Imtiaz Dharker

These are powerful, heartbreaking but ultimately transcendent poems about loss, grieving and recovery. What I found most affecting in them was the way they often look through the prism of the natural world. Hares, rabbits, horses make us look hard at ourselves and our place in the order of things and through the skill of the writer we become somehow more human, and more complex the more we look into the eyes of these creatures. There are many tropes of writing about loss but this poet skilfully and gloriously avoided them all, which is no mean feat.

Ian McMillan

These are spine-tingling, heart-stopping, life-affirming poems. Wendy Pratt explores the flimsy boundary between the animal and the human, places where ‘a whole / dark hearted life might erupt’ at any second. Her writing is ‘giddy with instinct’, compelling and raw. She exposes some of the last silent places of motherhood, losses which can leave women excluded and she finds beauty and hope even in the shadows cast by grief.’ 

Helen Mort

In the “wild-world” of Wendy Pratt’s poetry, the body can become a horse or a hare, a flock of pigeons or a mermaid. These poems are transformative in every sense of the word – exploring how language contains and changes grief and how the natural world can help us survive terrible loss. They are both heart-breaking and life-affirming, threaded through with love, concerned with survival and held together by powerful and startling imagery. Any reader cannot help but be transformed by these poems once they encounter them. 

Kim Moore

When I Think of My Body as a Horse is about trauma, recovery and the powerful, animal instincts embedded in the act of creating a family. These poems explore motherhood and body identity within the context of baby loss, when there is no ‘rainbow baby’ to add closure to the narrative.

Available from the Poetry Business: Who I Think of My Body as a Horse

Interviewed by poet Hannah Hodgson at The Poetry Business

Pratt walks out in these poems, treading carefully; quiet and watchful in her own interior landscape, noticing the small things, paying attention to the sound of ‘something small making its way underground’; velvet, soft, snouting through her own dark spaces and pain and still dazzled by the light. These poems are the wonderful work of a poet in full control of her art and craft; they are beautiful, musical, understated and unexpected. Here is the dark earth of moles tunnelling in the dark, the strength of love and the fragility of glass.’  Deborah Alma

Tender and full of anger, Wendy Pratt’s poems trace the line that separates love from loss, only to find that they are one in the same. A beautiful collection.’  Richard Skinner

Gifts the Mole Gave Me is an unearthing of life, a rediscovery of self after loss, and a search for the pleasurable, velvet touch of the mole’s dark journey. It is a hymn to the wild places; to the sea, the sky and the mind, in which anxieties and griefs flit and hover.

The poems explore cycles of repetition, renewed attempts, vicious and virtuous circles – again and again, over and over, round and round. Things are tidal; ‘the pull of the moon in your blood’, the annual mark of a lost child’s birthday, the cyclical nature of a ‘madness’ worn around the neck like a locket.

Mapping the veins and pathways of the body as surely as it does the dry stone walls and rural boundaries of the exterior, this is an accomplished and compelling collection which confirms its author’s place at the heart of UK poetry.

Available from Valley Press: Gifts the Mole Gave Me

Wendy reads from Gifts the Mole Gave Me at the launch in 2017