East Sussex poet explores motherhood and mental health

Hastings mum Grace Pilkington is featured in a brand-new poetry anthology that is raising money for a maternal mental health charity.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 7:05 am
Grace Pilkington

“Songs of Love and Strength was compiled during lockdown and shines a spotlight on the hidden and unheard experiences of motherhood.

“Published by the Mum Poem Press, there are over 100 poems from an array of first-time writers and established authors and poets – all mums writing today.

“The anthology aims to let people know that they are not alone in the ups and downs involved in parenthood.

“It features my poem entitled I thought that was tiring…

“All profits will be donated to the PANDAS foundation.

“I write poems on women’s issues, mental health and more recently motherhood.”

Her collection I have no idea what I’m doing: Poems on Pregnancy and Motherhood will be published in September.

“I’ve performed at poetry nights across London and at festivals including Hay, Port Eliot and Wilderness and was awarded a distinction in the Birkbeck creative writing MA and was long-listed for the 2017 National Poetry Competition and for the Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize for my work on the evils of the contraceptive pill. I’m delighted to have a poem included in this anthology.

“The Mum Poem Press is a new publishing venture that was set up during the first lockdown in 2020. They run the Mum Poet Club – an online writing group that started to counter the loneliness many mothers faced during the pandemic, when traditional support supports have been unavailable.

“The club now has more than 500 members, parents from across the globe who have found friendship and support through writing and sharing their poems.

“Following the highly successful publication of their Why Mums Are Amazing poetry zine, which was edited by the award-winning poet Hollie McNish Songs of Love and Strength is their first full-length anthology.

“It’s an anthology of over 100 beautiful, moving and inspiring poems about the many different experiences of motherhood.

“Collected from mothers around the UK and beyond, this is a powerful chorus of voices of singing of one of the most profound human experiences with grace, humour and beauty.

“My contribution is a fast-paced and humorous poem about all the times I thought I was exhausted in life and how they pale in comparison to motherhood.

“I write about my experiences with the hope that someone else might read them and feel less alone.

“I was struck by the intensity and severe exhaustion of early motherhood and that’s what inspired this poem!

“I don’t only write about motherhood .

“I also write about women’s issues, depression and anxiety and sometimes I rant about politics.

“I do try to always keep them humorous!”

You can buy the book at https://themumpoempress.com/collections/publications/products/songs-of-love-and-strength, price £12

The Mum Poet Press will be publishing further anthologies.

Grace added: “I’ve written poems for as long as I can remember – from a philosophical one titled Is Life Just A Hamster Cage? at the age of ten to teenage angsty poems expressing undying love for boys I’d only just met, to my recent poetry ranting about pregnancy and motherhood.

“It was always compulsive to me and either therapeutic and calming or painful and frustrating when the compulsion isn’t there…”