Praise for'With My Lips Pressed to the Ear of the Earth'
With My Lips Pressed to the Ear of the Earth is a pamphlet full of secrets, whispered stories and confessions. Things that are buried deep frequently bubble up to the surface. As the title suggests this is a pamphlet with a strong eco-theme and the poems tackle serious issues, but never in a solemn way. These are inviting poems that delight in the strange and the surreal. The off-kilter approach can catch us off-guard at times, making us think in new ways about nature and our own relationship to it.
These are poems with long roots, inhabiting the present world of Airbnb, Pizza Express and Heat magazine while also delving deep into a twisted pastoralism, stalked by the ghosts of John Barleycorn and Robin Goodfellow along with resurrectionist mushroom men and women trapped in wells.
This may be a debut pamphlet, but Charlotte Baldwin has a confident and lively voice. She has a gift for unsettling and surprising imagery, be it smudged moths used as eyeshadow or office swivel chairs sprouting wings. Reading her poems is like being taken on a remarkable picnic somewhere way off the beaten track: the fields and trees are strangely familiar, like a dream you once had, and there’s a spread of treats laid out — but you suspect they are not quite like anything you’ve tasted before.
Emma Simon, poet
First collection Shapeshifter out with Salt in 2023; The Odds, winner of the Poetry Business Competition 2020; Dragonish, the Emma Press 2017.
Charlotte’s pamphlet is a stunning combination of mulchy overgrown thickets and warnings of the artificial. We encounter the dangers of the manmade world as we stare quite literally down the barrel of a gun and are warned of the bite of wolf-kings.
As deer come up against barbed wire, the reader comes face to face with the harsh realities of the human world; truths about family, illness and gender issues spike through the metaphor like thorns.
I read each poem as a twig in a warm but hazardous nest: inviting and yet revealing a thorny underside, reminding us that even in the forest, we are not safe.
Poet, Editor and founder of Fawn Press
Charlotte Baldwin works on a national project supporting young people’s mental health and as a creative writing tutor & dogwalker. As Gypsy Rose Poetry, she travels round London visiting people living in isolation to talk about their lives and write poems for them.
Her poetry has appeared in the Elements anthology from Fawn Press, The North, Under the Radar, Shearsman, Lighthouse and Tears in the Fence, among others. In 2019 she was featured in Islands Are But Mountains, an anthology of the best new contemporary poetry from the United Kingdom published by Platypus Press.