Autumn Thoughts Hazel Authors

Mothers and daughters

South African poet Nkateko Masinga previews a new poem from her collection Daughter Wound, due to be published by Hazel Press in April 2024. The collection explores a young woman’s negotiation of intimate relationships: sexual, familial and political.

The cover design features ‘Kin’, a painting by artist Anna Ilsley, which was commissioned for this collection. Ilsley’s work challenges the construct of the male gaze and offers a feminist disruption of patriarchal images.


I am rewriting my mother’s story on my face
See the quotation marks holding my smile together?

Even my laughter is hers, not mine

Be careful how you say your own mother’s name
how you articulate your blood

You and your mother were once one person
a question mark in each ear
born to listen to her

Everything about you says
I am telling someone else’s story
I am still not sure about mine

Make sure you are reading the history book
being written in your childhood home

Collecting recipes too
because age is engraving farewell messages
into Mama’s skin

and how will you sustain yourself
when she is gone?

The words on her earlier pages
are disappearing as you read them

Your mother is forgetting herself

One day she will not be there
when you turn back to a part of her story
you enjoyed, hoping she will read it again

hoping to hear her laughter echo across the room
as she throws her head back

One day she will not be here to speak
so you will repeat her words to your children
just to hear her voice in yours
Daughter Wound cover by Nkateko Masinga and Anna Ilsley

Nkateko Masinga

Nkateko Masinga is an award-winning writer and scholar. A graduate of the University of Iowa’s 2021 International Writing Program, she was a 2019 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency, a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow and a Golden Key Scholar. In 2018 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can read more on Nkateko’s website here.

Poem ‘Heritage’ copyright © Nkateko Masinga 2023.

Cover image ‘Kin’ copyright © Anna Ilsley 2023.

Hazel Authors

The Last of Their Kind

Maggie Wang’s, The Sun on the Tip of a Snail’s Shell takes its inspiration from the sixth mass extinction – an event encompassing destruction of colossal proportions and thoroughly entangled with what it means to be human. The poems touch the lives of a snail in a terrarium in Hawai’i, a bat in a tunnel in Sussex, and a turtle in a lake in Vietnam. At once deeply personal and historically and scientifically grounded, these are poems not just about the species we are losing but also about the world we have created and the ways in which it has, in turn, created us. They are poems of mourning coupled with celebration, of meditation coupled with urgency, of outrage at the havoc we have wreaked on our planet and of faith in all that remains.

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Hazel Quartet

Rootstalk by Ella Duffy.  Rootstalk is written in five voices, each of whose lives is shaped by the Ghost Orchid, one of the rarest wild orchids, which spends most of its life underground and flowers every decade or so.

Re-Dreaming Sylvia Plath as a Queen Bee by Sean Borodale.  In this essay, Borodale draws connections between Plath’s Ariel poems and the bee-science of her esteemed father and beekeeper, Otto Emil Plath.

Leaves by Matthew Hollis.  Thoreau wrote of fallen leaves, ‘they teach us how to die’.  This long poem, seven years in the making, explores loss and grief on the one hand; and new life on the other as it examines the relationship of a father and a daughter.

Field Notes by Anna Selby.  Akin to Heathcote Williams’ Whale Nation, Anna Selby’s work takes us beneath the waves with poetic studies. Written on waterproof notebooks in the Atlantic Ocean, these notes were made underwater.

About Hazel Press

In respect of the environment, Hazel Press books are made as if they could come from a garden, using vegetable-based inks, 100% UK recycled paper, printed and designed locally. All our books are climate positive. We’ve chosen the name Hazel because it is a tree that thrives in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, is one of the most successful understorey and canopy trees, and provides food; wonder and beauty through catkins, and its wood is extraordinarily adaptable.

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BRAVO Ella Duffy!


New Hunger 

by Ella Duffy

Published 1st May 2020 (Smith|Doorstop)

Available to pre-order now: 

In Ella Duffy’s debut pamphlet New Hunger, familiar spaces shift dangerously around us, as the human body and the natural world unite in celebration and unease. 

Praise for New Hunger:

‘New Hunger is bright with transformation, both in its rich and varied metaphor, and its physical metamorphosis. Erotic, startling, grief-ridden but hopeful, these poems translate the world into kindness.’ – Fiona Benson 

‘New Hunger is a vivid and intimate collection, one which explores a nascent queerness, new love, and tenderly draws its finest inspirations from the bounty of the natural world.’ – Mary Jean Chan 

Ella Duffy is a London-based poet, originally from Manchester. Her work has been widely published and anthologised, appearing in the Guardian ReviewThe Rialto and Ambit, among others. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Pat Kavanagh Prize and won the Live Canon International Poetry Competition in 2019.

Twitter: @Els_Duffy
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About Anna Selby

Anna Selby is a poet and naturalist. She works collaboratively with conservationists, and is doing a PhD on Plein Air Poetry, Empathy and Ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is currently Poet-in-Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, as well as Cambridge Conservation Initiative, and was formerly in residence at Schumacher College. Her poetry often explores our connection with water and the natural world. She writes poetic-studies of different species in-situ, directly from life, often underwater, and aims for these poems to share a sense of compassion and attentiveness to the environment. 


Twitter: @Anna_Selby

Instagram: @TheNatureTable 

She works on cross-artform, poetry-dance pieces that tour the UK, have been featured on the BBC Culture Show and as a finalist for The Samuel Beckett Trust Theatre Award. Her current piece, Beneath Our Feet is performed in caves and underground spaces and was made in collaboration with cavers, miners and archaeologists. Anna was listed as ‘One of Five British Poets to Watch’ by the Huffington Post. She is co-editor of The World Record – an anthology of contemporary poetry from 204 countries, was the curator of Poetry International and Poetry Parnassus festivals, and is currently writing a non-fiction book called Wild City, about nature in London. 

She is inspired and influenced by: writers Rachel Carson, Richard Jefferies, the Transcendentalists; painters Emily Carr, Casper David Friedrich; Deep Ecology, Animism and Gaia Theory; the creative practices of plein air and impressionist artists; eastern European poetry, and in her reading returns often to poets such as Nikola Madzirov, Anna Swir, Katie Ford and Alice Oswald.