Wild Women Books

Back in 1999, we spent 10 workshops writing and re-discovering our wild within. When we finished, we had a load of poems that we wanted to gather together and share. We decided to set up a small press and publish our first book, Howl at the Moon: Writings by Wild Women. Guess what? We sold out the full first print run of 300 within two weeks. We continued to meet and share writing and wild ways. We also shared a lot of food so a short while later, we decided to put together a collection of poems, spells, and recipes inspired by the  feasts that appeared at each of our workshops. We published our second anthology, Hot Pot of Passion: A Sensual Celebration of Food - Wild Women Recipes, Spells and Poems. It sold out within three weeks. The books we have published since are excerpts of the journeys we have taken, created collaboratively and with a lot of love.

(Victoria Bennett, Founder, Wild Women Press)

Wild Women Books

Doing it for ourselves, writing and publishing words from the wild side...

HOWL AT THE MOON - writings by Wild Women. Edited by Victoria Bennett

"The writings contained in this little anthology contain everything that is in life itself, expressed with intergrity, courage, and passion. If you have ever lost your faith in human nature, read this. Its honesty will remind you that the best thing you can be in life is you..."

Just What I Want

Seven years old

in hand-me down velvet.

Seven years old

in another girl's dress.

Seven years old

in look-at-me luxury,

too shy to claim it new for herself.

Older now,

still longing for velvet,

blood red and dangerous,

flaunting and proud.

Older now,

no longer in castoffs,

still fighting shy of the

look-at-me luxury 

of just what I want.

(Rosemary Doyle, Just What I Want from Howl At The Moon: Writings By Wild Women, 1999)

HOT POT OF PASSION - a sensual celebration of food Edited by Julie Stebbings

"Vegetarianism - boring! Anyone who thinks so would have their world severely rocked by this little number...enclosed within the covers are poems, recipes and a little touch of folklore...served up with humour and a dash of sexiness...Wonderful!"  (The Vegetarian Magazine)

Sour Plums

Sour plums, their juices dribble

down the sides of my mouth.

Senses heightened, biting

into the hard, tight skin.

Plum tart, plum crumble,

stewed plums and custard.

The old greengrocer would ask

Expecting again are we, dear?

Yes, I would say, blushing scarlet.

(Pat Gibson, Sour Plums from Hot Pot of Passion, 2000)

Anchoring The Light - Victoria Bennett

"One woman's story over chaos and pain has something to say to us all about courage, patience and transformation -- generous, authentic, inspring."  (Linda France)

extract - Anchoring The Light


She sees stars before bedtime.

A woman sings a lullaby

to ease the girl to sleep.

This crooning, gentle love

that scares away the dark.

She feels at peace.

Then, by dawn, the monsters creep

from basement stair and attic eaves.

She waits for songs to smother the noise

of battle that splits her head.

A heavy door slams to the sound of silence.

She picks up the shattered pieces,

her tears fall to the floor unseen.

There are no heroes in this house,

just fear keeping the wolf away.

These pigs are frightened. 

No matter how strong the build their home 

-- mortar, wood, or straw --

the wolf walks right in through the open door.

(Victoria Bennett, extract from Anchoring The Light, 1999)

Green Dusk For Dreams - Ruth Snowden

"Ruth Snowden's poetry is crips and alert, often with an underlying pleasurable spookiness. Northern in emphasis, this is refreshing and exhilirating poetry for today's audience." (Sally Evans)

We Slugs

are mysterious creatures.

Clad in black, we glide

towards your lettuces,

our minds intent on vegetation.

There again, sometimes orange,

violet, or luminous green

is the colour for our livery.

The choice is ours -- it serves

esoteric purposes that are

none of your business.

You say we are low life --

judge us as uninteresting.

It is your right

to kill us without thought;

pour salt on our writhing bodies;

snip us in half; poison us;

or grind us back, with

Wellington boots, to the earth

from which we came.

But wait! Observe our delicate horns,

our gentle souls

which bear no malice.

We are the stuff of death;

the transformation of things.

Our glistening trail in moonlight

is your clue to where we are bound.

We come from a world of stillness;

night messages, the stars.

(Ruth Snowden, We Slugs from Green Dusk For Dreams, 2004)

Fragile Bodies - Victoria Bennett

"I have always felt that The Song of Solomon was the sharpest and most passionate poetry of physical love; Fragile Bodies retells that song for our own day, with the same daring of rhetoric, the same assertiveness of the disquieting knowledge that love brings, and the loss of self that love demands, and how these both need to be embraced, even at our peril, if we are to be at all true to our modest and brief human lives."  (David Morley)


You were meant to be born

in the month of the brave

but chose instead

the white heat of stars.

Perhaps it was all this freezing.

I dig the earth around your root,

clear away the last year's leaves

while blades of grass stab my palms.

Sometimes I feel you;

            a tug on my breast,

            the hot damp of your fingertips,

            a frightened call in the night.

No -- that last one is just me

crying out to find you.

I get so lost now, you see.

I forget to leave out a trail.

When everyone sleeps

I stare out at the dark,

my voice silenced

by indefinable longing.

Sometimes I find you, my love,

your smiling face clear-bright

as my own reflection,

watching from the glass.

(Victoria Bennett, Rowan from Fragile Bodies, 2004)

Internet Love Slut - Gill Hands

"A rollercoaster of sex, gender, relationships and hyperspace, with a quick wit that can evaporate as smoothly as it is applied. A strong edgy voice, the poems are sharp, a weapon wielded gracefully when you are just sitting comfortably. Always enjoyable, contemporary and ever so slightly menacing...this is poetry with an unapologetic parental advisory label on it -- a poet with a man trap in her purse." (Angela Readman)

Subverting the Genre of the Bodice Ripper:
The Intertexuality of Cross-Dressing in a Male-Dominated Society

is a paper I will never write.

I'm not an academic,

I'm a poet.

It's what I do.

(Gill Hands, Internet Love Slut, 2004)

This Reckless Beauty - Rhiannon Hooson

"Rhiannon Hooson's poetry glistens in the dark like the pointed end of a spear. It is sensual and dangerous, revelling in the primal forces simultaneously held and released by each poem." (Charles Bennett)


Overhead, pylons hiss and crack

in the rain. One bird circles,

etching its acid-sharp path

into cloud. These

are the journeys that lead me home --

the balding hilltops scraggy with goats,

the burnished scree

and wing-tumbled bracken;

the haze of rain,

that moment of swooping blindness

at the road's crescendo. The tug

of stone as we breach the pass.

Even with my back turned

I travel towards it, laying out the landscape

as I go: horizon after horizon,

one bird circles,

the thin air sick with cloud.

(Rhiannon Hooson, Marathon from This Reckless Beauty, 2004)

Fragments - Victoria Bennett

"These poems have a direct reflective honesty. They capture in motion a questioning and questing mind as it 'labours to be beautiful'. As such, they remind us of what, ideally, the poet's life should be." (Maurice Riordan)

Day 22

I open the battered box.

In the dark, bright-eyed bats

circle the air, tangle notes

in the hair-strands of my thoughts.

These are the doubting times;

nothing can be found, or good, in here.

A small light flickers,

glow-worm silk moth, firefly

against the night, bright wings

of sticky incandescence

beating, beating,

learning how to raise 

its body from the ground.

I lift it up, hold it carefully

in the hole of my palm,

wait for the sun

to dry its wing,

to help it fly.

(Victoria Bennett, Day 22, extract from Fragments, 2006)

Rilke Tattoo - Gill Hands

"Sharp, witty, charismatic, surreal and suprising: the poems are imaginative, playful, hallucinogenic and always take themselves with a pinch of salt as they explore the myth of the poet, the nature of art, and the fine line between creativity and madness. These poems explode with energy..." (Angela Readman)

Dead Muse's Society

Wherever THE POET goes,

she finds Rilke got there first

and is thinking her thoughts.

He is in The Poetics of Space

polishing a wardrobe;

in the introduction to Gilgamesh

telling her it is the epic of fear and death.

In every book she reads about writing,

he is always telling the young poet

not to worry about being published.

Which was fine for him to say,

he casually mentions he had thirteen books

published by the time he was twenty-eight.

THE POET thinks he was a smug bastard,

but she loves him anyway.

(Gill Hands, Dead Muse's Society, from Rilke Tattoo, 2006)

Byron Makes His Bed - Victoria Bennett

"These are poems of sex and death, haunted by the shades of Lord Byron and Sylvia Plath. Desire and sensual pleasure is both redeemer and destroyer, tender and violent...Mad, bad and dangerous to know, like Byron before her, Victoria Bennett maps their unreliable, seductive boundaries."

(Linda France)

Down River

Look, you say, a perfect match,

holding your hand up to mine.

Interlocking fingers, we feel

our way for explanation.

The sun splices open the room,

picking out the motes of lust

that speckle the dark.

My legs wrap you into a Moses basket

to carry you away down river.

Here I rock you, our bodies insisting,

resisting, both wary of change.

You lean in, eyes open, to kiss my skin:

I take you to the water and pull you in.

(Victoria Bennett, Down River, from Byron Makes His Bed, 2004)

The 3AM Club - Anthology of Insomniacs 

"...Poems that share the common thread of nocturnal inspiration. Showcasing five emerging young poets alongside the Wild Women, the voices are as diverse as the poets themselves, yet, like the Wild Collective, all connected..."  (Victoria Bennett)

The Changing Moon's Face

I wake at 3am, longing for you, and watch

as the moon scatters powder from a silver compact,

over her small-poxed face,

then chases the buttermilk glow of sun

across the ripped ribbon of sky,

pulling oceans towards her in frustrated rage.


She gossips with the stars the next night,

telling them of the sun's wheat-coloured hair

and scent of bleached hydrangeas,

and how, come Autumn, he will send her

gifts of golden leaves in the breeze.


She will turn these brittle with frost,

before sending them back to him

in a wind as cool as steel cutlery.

All nights after, I have seen her weeping,

her eyes dark with run mascara,

the sky troubled, rain lashing at my window.


Far in the distance, I spot Venus,

a chain of cloud-patterns slung casually

around her neck, her face rosy and blushed;

a love letter spelt out to her in the sunset.

(Sarah Gasson, The Changing Moon's Face, from The 3am Club, 2007)



Email: vik@wildwomenpress.com