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Natalie Ann Holborow


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how can I reach you (he aims for
the small hoop of my waist and misses)
when she’s circled you in glass and marrow?

Praise for Small:

‘Rich and visceral in its imagery, Natalie Ann Holborow's Small wrestles the unruly body and mind through a world of food and wine from lemons to the dangerous fugu, peopled by self, lovers, family, and reinventions of literary and Biblical characters. She takes us on a journey of pain and recovery, as well as her travels. Her India poems are a sensual feast.’ – Kate Noakes

‘There is power in the everyday. Or rather, there can be. Hydrogen atoms always contained the potential to unmake the world, but it took the right kind of artist to unseam the nucleus and set the air on fire. Natalie Ann Holborow is that kind of artist. These poems are set in the world we know (a place where there are dishes to be done, parties to be had, inconvenient diagnoses, and a small voice inside your head, whispering doom) but they're guaranteed to blast you right out of it. There's a structural skill, here, that is hard to match. Small is atomic — in the best possible sense.’ – Bethany W. Pope

‘To be a woman means living in a body that is laid claim to by everyone under the sun. Small speaks to what happens when women are forced to live up to certain body ideals, which prize above all thinness and conventional femininity. Because so often, these poems tell us, we internalize the demand to keep ourselves small, to be shy, demure, not loud, not taking up space. Small reveals the narrator’s struggle to overcome this, and also reminds us of the body’s vulnerability in its poems about living with diabetes. Any woman will tell you that loving our bodies is a challenge, but Small reminds us that if women could, we could set this whole place on fire.’ – Zoë Brigley

'The poetry of Natalie Ann Holborow in Small takes us whole. It shreds us with the turmoil of mind and body, with pulsing tones and the ostinato punch, the cadence and characteristics of a dynamic, live-performance poet. The text is sparkling and visceral, with breathtaking insight into our vulnerabilities... Small is brave, honest and straight-eyed, overlaid with a rare passion that confronts the edges of human fragility.' – Glenn Barker, Black Bough Poetry


We all have our favourite demons. Weaved throughout poems on mythology, literary figures and other shores, the narrator is haunted by her biggest demon of all: the gargantuan Small.

Told with rawness and honesty, the secretive nature of living with an eating disorder is yanked out into the open and given physical form and voice.

Through relationship breakdowns, bath-times, the cacophonous dazzle of Delhi and the fug of hospital waiting rooms, Small is there, slyly riding on the shoulders of a woman running for miles to get away ‒ yet forever haunted by a shadow far larger than her own.

Natalie Ann Holborow is an award-winning writer whose debut collection, And Suddenly You Find Yourself, was launched at the International Kolkata Literary Festival and listed as Wales Arts Review’s ‘Best of 2017’. She is co-editor of the Cheval anthology. Winner of the 2015 Terry Hetherington Award and a recent finalist in the Cursed Murphy Spoken Word competition, she blogs at www.natalieholborow.com where she shares her experiences and advice for aspiring writers.