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Helen Charman
Helen Charman is a writer and academic based in Glasgow. Her first book, Mother State — a political history of motherhood — is forthcoming from Allen Lane. Her poetry pamphlet Daddy Poem was shortlisted for the 2019 Ivan Juritz Prize; her latest, In the Pleasure Dairy, was published by Sad Press in 2020. She teaches English Literature at Durham University, and is a resident commissioning editor at MAP magazine.

Articles Available Online


HOLDING THE ROOM: ON HOLLY PESTER’S ‘COMIC TIMING’

Book Review

May 2021

Helen Charman

Book Review

May 2021

The last poem in Holly Pester’s first collection COMIC TIMING (Granta, 2021) is called ‘Villette’; it shares its title with Charlotte Brontë’s 1853 novel...

Essay

May 2020

Where do I put myself, if public life’s destroyed? On reading Denise Riley

Helen Charman

Essay

May 2020

How do you read someone who doesn’t always want to be read? This is a question I used to...

There were flickers of red in the water, a tint the colour of blood He stood in the river, naked as a stone, and opened his hands and drew the water to his lips and tasted it He knew the tastes of the river well, its differences like moods, as after a storm when the earth washed down from the fields and the clay sediment left his mouth bone dry He gazed upstream at the horizon, at the evening sun and the evening sky, at the river He was cold and began to shake, and though it was the beginning of summer and the air was warm his lips turned a bright blue   A package wrapped in cloth came to a still against his stomach and he scooped it from the water and unwrapped a small baby, so dead that it seemed a doll, and strange though it was, he reparcelled the dead thing in the cloth and returned it to the river where he watched it go, turning his toes in the silt and stones, his feet hardened against the medley of sharp rocks that formed the riverbed He remembered the still hot corpses of the burnt out men in what was left of the church, expiring smoke from their chimney mouths and whistling like so many kettles His father smouldering among them   A larger body appeared in chase of the child Signs of torture riddled the chest and face of the man, who was dead and naked He took hold of the body and waded through the river with it wrapped intimate in his thick arms and lifted it onto the rocks and laid it down He sat facing the water and waved the flies from the dead man’s pulpy face There followed another man, spilling over himself in the shallow breaks, reaching out a hand – it looked like He caught the second man, but he was also dead and he dragged him clear of the current and left him in the company of his fellow corpse Their black and bloody faces twinned by bruising

Contributor

November 2017

Helen Charman

Contributor

November 2017

Helen Charman is a writer and academic based in Glasgow. Her first book, Mother State — a political history of motherhood...

Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’

Book Review

October 2018

Helen Charman

Book Review

October 2018

Reading Sally Rooney’s second novel Normal People is a compulsive experience. After the navy blue Faber & Faber proofs were sent out in early...
Rendering intimacy impossible, deploy lifeboats (mark yourself safe) Not listening as such, more waiting to speak, above all mark yourself, it’s so important to be safe Carry on, they demand, we’re not reeling / we are reeling Is this the place for a fountain reference? Probably ‘What first attracted you to your wife, sir?’ ‘Her delicacy / her ankles / her hatred of the Tories’                  Alive twice over but that’s a whole life gone too                you know I’m sorry, he holds his hands up, I’m                sorry, he backs away: my conscience couldn’t                keep company with your body I say, your body?                it just made me think: it’s only a nine month stay   The next time you lay a hand on me, I’ll make a perfect gleaming dive into the Thames Aren’t you glad / to be here? I am
Electioneering

Prize Entry

November 2017

Helen Charman


READ NEXT

fiction

April 2015

Heavy

Chris Newlove Horton

fiction

April 2015

It is a two lane road somewhere in North America. The car is pulled onto the shoulder with the...

feature

May 2017

The Pilgrims

Rachel Aydt

feature

May 2017

ST. JOAN The great actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti stands trial for heresy, a woeful story told with her eyes...

fiction

February 2013

The Currency of Paper

Alex Kovacs

fiction

February 2013

‘Labour is external to the worker, i.e. it does not belong to his essential being; that in his work,...

 

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