Some Mothers Do: Three poets tell of love, life and motherhood

A POIGNANT collection of poems looking at life, love and motherhood is being published by three local ladies this month.

‘Some Mothers Do’ is a collaboration of works by Saddleworth-based Hilary Robinson, Rachel Davies and Tonia Bevins which was launched on Wednesday, November 7 at the Portico Library in Manchester from 6.30pm.

There was another launch locally at the Black Ladd pub in Shaw on Tuesday, November 13 from 7pm, including a poetry open mic.

And while the events were an exciting step for Rachel and Hilary, they will be tinged with sadness by the absence of Tonia, who died suddenly in the summer.

Hilary explained: “We were lucky enough to be approached by editor Rebecca Bilkau who was thinking about launching the first DragonSpawn publication.

“Tragically, Tonia died suddenly in the summer before Rachel and I managed to meet her but we all thought her contribution to the book should go ahead.

“Tonia’s friends Angela Topping and Angi Holden have been acting on her behalf in the final editing process and they will be reading her poems at the launch in November.”

Rachel began writing poetry seriously when she retired from teaching in 2003.

Her poetry has twice been performed with music at the Bridgewater Hall and she has had several published in journals and anthologies.

Her poems in the book include ‘Three Toed Sloth’ about how we know who we are, and how we should behave in social situations through the reaction of the other’s gaze.

Another is ‘Love Letter to McNaught’, a very tongue-in-cheek poem about the break-up of a relationship, inspired by a trip to Southern Australia in January 2007.

Hilary’s love of poetry began at a young age as she was encouraged by her father to learn poems by heart but she didn’t start to write until 10 years ago when she was recovering from a mental breakdown that had led to her temporarily giving up her teaching job.

As part of her recovery she joined a monthly writing group at Uppermill Library and then a Poetry Society Stanza group in Stalybridge.

She has enjoyed various collaborations with composers from RNCM, having two poems published in Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘A New Manchester Alphabet’ anthology and reading alongside Carol Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead at the Royal Exchange.

One of her poems in the book is ‘On Bridge Street’ reflecting on ‘baby blues’ after the premature birth of her son, something she had never spoken about to her family or friends before.

Her second poem ‘Sex as an Olympics Sport’ was written in response to a remark by Boris Johnson during the 2012 Olympic Games and it imagines a mature couple reflecting on their sex life.

Tonia was born in Blackpool but lived in Cheshire since her mid-twenties. After working for the BBC for many years, where she met her late husband, producer Barry Bevins, she became an ESOL teacher in Manchester and Liverpool.

She was very involved in the local poetry scene, being a member of the Poetry Society Stanza, Blaze, and was a founder member of Vale Royal Writers.

Tonia was very excited about her first publication of a whole set of poems, but unfortunately did not live to see it completed.

Her poems in the book include ‘Before I remembered’, a very personal and moving elegy for her late husband, and ‘At Bamburgh’, reflecting on time spent with her mother on holidays.

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