clare e. potter – Healing The Pack [Out Now!]


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         Healing The Pack

         clare e. potter

         April 18 2024

         PBK: £10.99

         ISBN: 978 1 913917 52 4   

         80 pages • 216 x 138 • Collection

         Genre: Poetry Collection

       Flat rate UK Postage of £2.75 will be added to this order. Any additional books ordered are postage free.


Healing the Pack is a book of retrieval. These are poems on the hunt for language to speak of intergenerational resilience and the power offered up by ancestors and perceptive children. Born out of working-class life in a coalmining community, the work explores unsilencing. It  honours those who speak through the gaps of their suffering to share their strengths.

The assembled poems, which took 17 years to write, are more than descriptions of recovery, they are the process of a poet finding her words—to speak of pain and resistance. They are as much about learning to listen as they are about learning to speak. The poet pays deep attention to the undertones, the hushed and ignored, the barely visible, to those familial presences who linger with instructions for the writer, to break detrimental cycles, to heal and be healed.

Each poem brings past and present into focus, offering a new lens for self-realisation, never linear, always cyclical. Nature always at hand as guide.

Navigating this complex terrain of adversity and grief, we find a poet moving beyond fear and shame because there is a foundation of love, rooted in release through motherhood, nature, and language as witness, and primal call.  

‘In Healing the Pack, clare e. potter claims her place as one of our most important Welsh poets writing today. Rooted in Welsh landscape and culture, these poems give primacy to the viewpoint of mother, which is not a sentimental role but a vital one. The connection to and nurturing of children in this collection is profound, but it also means the narrator must look back on her younger self, cataloguing difficulties for girls growing up. In writing about violence against women and girls, potter registers the wider harm and legacy of trauma for the whole family. In poignant experiences mediated via the natural world and family, the narrator heals herself but also works towards healing the entire family and community – the pack of the collection’s title. This is the poet as magician, as healer, and as conduit for the more-than-human: the wisdom of nature beyond human knowledge. Healing the Pack is a moving and beautiful collection, which I will be returning to for comfort and inspiration again and again.’ – Zoe Brigley, author of Hand & Skull, editor of Poetry Wales

‘In Healing the Pack, clare e. potter offers us poems of great personality and impact. She writes from the right place always, straight out of the heart, and it is rare to find poems so capable of capturing personalities that we feel we are right there in the room with the people in these poems. The writing is full of tenderness for parents and children, rich in explorations of the past, and travels from the terraces and mountains of South Wales, to the southern states of the USA. I love the worldview and insight of these poems, the way they’ve formed a language which is capable of expressing the special connectedness of people in the communities of South Wales. Just as, in one poem, a boy bends a piece of wire ‘to get into the gubbins of something,’ so these poems show us what’s really inside ourselves – all the beauty and all the care for each other that’s sitting there.’ – Jonathan Edwards, author of Costa Prize winning My Family and Other Superheroes

‘clare e. potter’s poetry is perfect pitch: ironic, daring, she writes with emotional intensity but also with sensual vibrancy. These poems are intimate explorations, discovering truths in fine particulars and in unexpected ways. We are all the richer for reading her and throughout her work she ‘risks delight’. She’s a poet who goes all out to articulate an energy which ultimately startles the mind of the reader.’ – Menna Elfyn, former Poet Laureate for Children in Wales, President of Wales Pen Cymru, Cholmondeley Award winner

‘I have waited eagerly for another collection from clare e. potter. I felt Immediately pulled into her moving new book where I found myself leaning close to its inhabitants to hear powerful, ringing testimony. Healing the Pack has made me consider how a family holds itself together, how it carries its past into the future; how this is achieved through language and love.’ – Rebecca Goss author of Her Birth, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection


clare e. potter is a poet and radio presenter who studied an MA in Afro-Caribbean literature in Mississippi and taught in New Orleans. She facilitates creative projects with community groups and is motivated by the belief that poetry can be a force for personal and social change. Recently, Wales Arts International funded her to take part in a poetry therapy conference (USA). Other awards include a Literature Wales writing bursary, a Society of Authors grant, and funding from the Arts Council for a poetry/jazz collaboration to respond to the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. clare has had poetry residencies with the Landmark Trust and Moravian Academy and performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC. She was a Hay Festival Writer at Work and has created poetry installations in public spaces with local people. clare directed a BBC documentary (The Wall and the Mirror) about her village barber, thereafter a group formed to save the local miners’ institute. clare has translated for the National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, and has presented several BBC radio poetry programs; as a result of being Poet of the Month for Radio Cymru, she began a Welsh poetry pamphlet, Nôl Iaith, which will be published with Y Stamp. She is currently mentoring other artists, facilitating writing for wellbeing workshops and preparing The Dragon’s Pen, a forthcoming BBC radio Wales programme. Healing the Pack is her second poetry collection.