I have grown two hearts
My second poetry pamphlet is with Hedgehog Press.
Here is a short reading from the 2021 Saboteur Festival
Copies available from me direct at readings & right here.
Standard Copies (signed/ Dedication optional, please say on your order if you want a signature or dedication): £7.99
Limited Edition x5 Annotated Copies £15
Postage for single copies £3 (signed 1st class)
All 3 Books Bundle Deal £22 plus £3.50 Postage
'Tender but dry-eyed, these are unflinching and beautifully crafted poems about parenthood.'
“My thoughts have taken my blood and bones, spun them into life,” writes Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe in this, her second book of poems. And what poems they are, celebrating parenthood and children in all their forms: struggled for in IVF clinics, nursed through their wakefulness, lost. Zoë captures so many moments “freeze dried” from her own and othersʼ children, beginning in “that soft space, the hollow house, dreaming itself full” and sometimes ending sadly, leaving the bereft “striding outwards”. The book ends with the parent parented as Zoë celebrates her own father and the gradual shift we take in exchanging our roles. Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe is a poet to be reckoned with, blending rich language with the familiar, and this book is a must for anyone who loves poetry and family.
Editor, “Love is the Way Bark Grows”
Review by Nigel Kent
A Poetry Book Which Delivers Everything and More! bought this book after attending a poetry launch event at which Zoe Howarth-Lowe was reading. I didn’t know a great deal about her work up until that point, but my goodness I do now. I thought at the time “If the written word is as good as the poet’s delivery I absolutely have to buy this” – so I did! I am so glad:) Very obviously the mainstay of the poetry is motherhood, parenthood and family, and that is more than sufficient to entice book lovers and poetry lovers to buy this in droves, but the book has a much wider compass and you’ll find yourself drawn into some absolutely magical poetry and stuck in there, so enthralled that you just don’t want to come out! There is an old saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you should with this one. The art work is beautiful and the quality of the poetry inside absolutely matches it. Heed my words, if after reading this review you don’t buy this book you are doing yourself a serious disservice.
Brian McManus Oct 22 2020
An evocative collection that stirs up memories of fertility and young motherhood like minding a thick soup on the stove.
Donna McLuskie Nov 8 2020
Emma Mackay - Bunny's Pause
Vic Pickup - Sphinx
Review by Tina Cole
In, I have Grown Two Hearts, Zoe Howarth-Lowe takes us on a journey through motherhood and beyond. These are poems that bring tenderness into close focus alongside the roller coaster demands of everyday parenting. We grow alongside her children, beginning in an I.V.F clinic and traveling the gamut of mothering through her experiences and back to being a child herself. These are honest poems, with the skill to effectively recreate her world, they speak of love laid bare and the reality of balancing parenting demands. They are frank and never sentimental. She so aptly describes the initial experience in, Pregnancy:
constantly doing two things at once
creating a baby
and everything else.
Howarth-Lowe uses rich language and draws upon a wide emotional range to focus the various perspectives and experiences of motherhood. The voice is strong and clear with no variance in tone from the dedication she feels to her tasks, she speaks of joys and tribulations with equal vigour. The different forms of poems keep the collection light and interesting. As a reader you are drawn along with themes about the developing child through early motherhood / trying to get a child to sleep as in, Lullaby:
we jig along the corridor, whirling and twirling ……
…. midnight, each moment jinks along like the banjo string plucking.
Then to the intimate comfort of a family sharing a bed, the jumble tangle of bodies and tender moments in, Little Souls:
A nest of parents and siblings
There are four of us here
To managing the tantrums of a five year old in; You Don’t Fit the Way You Used To,
I am unable to explain my inadequacies
to your nearly five year old stamping foot.
…… I cannot carry you home
These poems have a fine, careful, boldness that anyone who has been through motherhood can instantly identify with. There is longing, there is frustration, there is anxiety, but there is never anger or regret.
The collection contains poems covering topics that you might find in any, ‘Guide to’. The wonder of new life, the terrible sadness of miscarriage, sleepless nights, the strong emotional bond between parent and child, the need to let go and how to manage the everyday small, issues with tolerance and sensitivity.
It is also interspaced with poems about her life in general, their movement to the north of England as in, Northbound. Also, a poem about the horrors of birthing long ago in, The American Museum, with the strong lines:
willing the head and shoulders
of this child to erupt from her
….. struggle and kick;
elbow its own way free..
and two poems about her relationship with her father which I found, particularly moving;
Going Back -
Hand in hand /in silence / …and we remembered
Image on a Brass Lion -
for a second/ I see with your eyes/ and I become the father/ gripping his daughter’s hand.
Placed at the end of the collection these allow the reader to fully reflect on the child – parent circle.
These are poems that roll the words of parenthood around in the mouth like marbles, they talk in the plain language of feelings, sometimes witty and sometimes deeply moving. Zoe writes with a conviction and vividness that so effectively draws us into her world. They seem effortless in their simple style and yet have lines that go right to the heart. A must read for any prospective parent/grandparent or godparent.
Tina Cole April 1, 2021