Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Poems from the Backroom 86: Rachel Fox

"This is not really the poetry collection to give poetry snobs – but it’s a fantastic collection to give someone who doesn’t quite get poetry, because it’s warm and welcoming. Very enjoyable, very recommended."

This review for Rachel Fox's first collection 'More about the Song' sums it all up. Rachel Fox is a people’s poet. She feels she communicates well and gets on with the business of communicating however she’s able -through magazines, books, events, videos and postcards- rather than rising through the ranks of the poetry leagues, whatever that means. Rachel’s poetry is direct, unambiguous, and addresses real issues. Rachel’s reading events in the North East- in my experience- are spectacular. The two occasions I’ve been invited up to the east coast, one reading with the legendary Raymond Vettese, there were huge, merry and receptive crowds and if the three ubiquitous old folk with the labrador were there (my usual fan base) they were swallowed in the crowd of ordinary folk having a great poetry night out.

Born and brought up in the North of England, Rachel has lived in North East Scotland since 2002. She has worked in journalism, education, mental health and learning support, foster care, market research, shops, and as a radio/nightclub DJ, but not necessarily in that order.

She started concentrating on poetry in the late 1990s. She read poems regularly at the folk club in Montrose from about 2007-2018. She has had poems published in various places including 'The Poetry Bus', 'The Scotsman', 'Gutter', 'The Herald', 'Pushing out the Boat' and a HappenStance Press anthology. In July 2017 Cerys Matthews read a poem from 'Turn' on her radio show on BBC 6 Music. Rachel first published poems as postcards, then in a book 'More about the song' published in 2008 and, most recently, in a pamphlet called 'Turn' in 2017. Details of these are in Rachel's website, linked below.

Here she is reading 'Feels 1' and 'Feels 2' though due to some unexplained chicanery the video ends at the start of 'Feels 2'. You can still hear it though, while looking at the wallpaper!

Rachel's Website Here:


Rachel's Poetry Blog here:


She's not there

(Thoughts on Joan Eardley's Self Portrait 1943)

There are bad days
Not even half days
And when they come
The broken pieces of her face
Seem perfectly formed

Reassuring they say
'The sky is still there
The colours still worth seeing
Being broken simply isn't
The worst thing you can be'

Comforted I brush my crumbs together
And look carefully cautiously
At the slightly scrappy sorry collection
Still sad but less lonely
In their fragments than before

The portrait feels like family
Or so I imagine
We are the not quite whole people
The bits and pieces people
The hundreds and the thousands