Hearth by Angela Topping and Sarah James

Grateful to Myfanwy Fox, for this review, one of our first, which she wrote after hearing us read at Worcester, as well as reading the pamphlet.

Fox Unkennelled - Myfanwy Fox


Sarah James & Angela Topping

Mother’s Milk Books, 2015

James’ and Topping’s poetry duet explores ideas of home through memories and objects from childhood. Crows, sewing and laundry lines are recurring images; “The sister I never met hangs out my sheets” (The Washing Line, James) and “small acts of love, pinned up with such hope of drying” (Spring Lines, Topping) with a nod to Larkin and Hughes, amongst others.

Page-paired poems directly riff on shared themes but motifs play from page to page. One page’s poems are based on music boxes and their mechanisms and these echo in a grandfather clock and a wind-up toy. The same musical motif resurfaces regarding pianos and songs. Buttons – loose or in their tin – feature along with washing. “To watch the women pegging out, / you’d think the breeze was all for them / and not to…

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