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by Rose Cook

There are tiny jewels to be found within the pages of Hearth, like the opening of a pomegranate: ‘Part gently to the heart for rubies we eat from a pin’. Rose Cook writes of climbing and falling, age and loss, fear and loneliness, but most of all of life and survival. With echoes of Rumi and Mary Oliver, these are poems for the soul, the heart and the hearth.

978-0-9957381-4-0. Cultured Llama. PB. 203×127mm. 120pp. September 2017. Poetry. £10.00

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Rose Cook is a well-known South West poet having performed regularly in venues such as the Soho Theatre in London, the Bristol Poetry Festival and Dartington’s Ways With Words Literature Festival, as well as many local poetry events. She is an Apples & Snakes poet and has appeared at the North Devon Festival in Barnstaple, Plymouth’s Barbican theatre, the Exeter Phoenix and at the Penzance literature festival.

Rose co-founded the popular Devon poetry and performance forum One Night Stanza, as well as poetry performance group Dangerous -Cardigans. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Devon and SoundArt radio.

She has run Writing Memory workshops with older people and worked with the Totnes Memory Cafe.

She is author of Notes From a Bright Field, also published by Cultured Llama.


Hearth is a treasure trove of poems, in which Rose Cook maps the spirit, exploring how the ordinary and everyday is full of magic and love. She writes, ‘We must protect the under-dream of existence/catch life waiting for us.’  She portrays her mother through her daily tasks, offering us life’s fragilities in her son’s fall, in grief and in the process of ageing while also celebrating ‘how close to breaking we must live’. These poems also contain the ancient magic and wisdom of trees, of creatures and constellations as well as lots and lots of love. In her voice as clear as spring water, we catch ‘the hum of soul / its weight the heart of a lark.’    

Rebecca Gethin, author of All the Time in the World

These are numinous poems which register human fragility, yet their awareness of ‘how close to breaking we must live’ serves to strengthen their grateful celebration of life, with its moments of human tenderness and natural beauty. Deeply felt portraits of the landscape – owls, hares, egrets, rain, sea, cherry trees – along with simple acts like folding sheets, or a daughter’s visit, drop us into ‘a marvellous time’, an ‘under-dream of existence’ and become vehicles for light and awakening. Rose Cook’s ‘glimpse through’ the world makes Hearth a sensitive, haunting collection, and reminds us of our soul’s priorities.

Rosie Jackson, author of The Light Box

Rose Cook’s poetry is a secret dance, a graceful flight as her words lift from the page, light and tender and yet powerful enough to change the way we see the world. Her performances are spellbinding, intimate conversations, private transactions as if reaching right into the soul of the audience.

Robert Garnham, author of Nice

To listen to Rose Cook is to be taken into a room that you didn’t know existed. There is something to be savoured in every line.

Matt Harvey, writer, poet, performer and host of Radio 4’s Wondermentalist Cabaret. His latest book is Sit!

She has a unique way with words, variously funny, sad, tender and true. Her writing delights ingeniously in itself and the world at large. The delight is infectious.

Helena Nelson, editor of HappenStance Press

Rose Cook is a poet whose words fly off the page with great elegance and beauty. These poems are full of love and loss captured with a lightness of touch that makes them a joy to read.

Sarah Ellis, digital producer for the Royal Shakespeare Company

Rose Cook evokes strong moods in the reader and inspires many imaginative flights. Hers is a poetry of love and in particular of longing, experienced through different times and in different situations.

Colin Brown, director of Poetry Can

Rose Cook’s hard-won poems do justice to the complexities of ordinary human experience in admirably precise and natural language.

Michael Laskey, poet, editor, founder of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

I really enjoy her poems, they give an intense experience. Like standing under a radiant tree, face up, eyes closed, and feeling the leaves drop down on you one by one. I felt echoes of Rumi and Mary Oliver; a Mary Oliver for the South Hams instead of New England.

Miriam Darlington, author of Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter

Rose Cook’s poetry conveys a real sense of sincerity and serenity and has a magnificently life-affirming quality.

Chris Brooks, poet, performer and founder of Poetry Island at The Blue Walnut, Torquay

In their transparency and deceptive simplicity Rose Cook’s poems reveal pure and hidden depths in nature, memory and loss, celebrating and questioning the fragility of everyday interactions.

Anthony Wilson, author of Riddance

Rose Cook’s poems are often poignant, reflecting the many variables of ordinary lives, but always with a lightness of touch, an acceptance of what it is to be human.  Fluid and sincere, the poems are wide ranging, sometimes painterly, sometimes with a wonderful down-to-earth diction and a singular inwardness that delights.

Denise McSheehy, author of Salt

Rose has a defter hand than most, or should that be a keener eye? She sees the world with uncommon clarity, noticing the things, small and large, we might easily overlook, and helps the reader view it afresh.

Judy Darley, journalist and fiction writer

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