"In The Mother Country, Moore uses historical reconstruction, ventriloquy, haiku, elegy, narrative, a list of words from the Dharug language ('Mother Tongue'), of which only a few hundred remain, and throughout the collection she employs epigraphs (Franz Fanon, Heraclitus, Deputy Judge Advocate of New South Wales, 1798, Captain Cook, Grace Paley, Frances Weller (grief work) that illuminate the whole and provide a spur to her analytical reimagining.
The four sections of the book move between the colonial desecrations of aboriginal peoples and their land, the Scottish clearances, the discontents in Moore's family, and the climate and environmental crises that are the legacies of our micro- and macro-scale violences. Helen Moore's special feat in The Mother Country is to use the painful experiences of her own disinheritance by her mother to investigate - with every sinew, sensibility and wit - the situation of 'all the disinherited, both human and other-than-human', to whom Moore dedicates the book.
The poems are crafted, often very beautiful syntactically, sometimes angry or impatient, or tender with hope; and always rich with observation and knowledge. As with her earlier ground-breaking collection, ECOZOA (2015), Helen Moore's poetry is characterised by formal versatility, intellectual energy, and political daring - an inspiration for what poetry can offer in the face of our urgent global challenges."
Kay Syrad, reviewing The Mother Country, in Envoi, 2019
"An extraordinary interweaving of personal, political and ecological losses, Helen Moore delves deeply into colonial history to illuminate current injustices in ‘The Mother Country’, a meticulously constructed #poetry collection of disinheritance and broken legacies.
Her command of language is startling - the satire, imagery, syntax, surprise twists and juxtapositions, the beauty of word choices, the level and depth of historical research and the author’s processing powers, the astonishing analogies she draws, the personal soul-baring bravery... a truly remarkable read."
Anne Casey on The Mother Country
"The transformation of personal experience into a work of wider significance is a desirable alchemy for poets and here, in award-winning British ecopoet Helen Moore's third collection, a starting point of being written out of her mother's will develops into an eclectic exploration of dispossession, its wounds and injustices, across time, space and cultures.
And while it would take the hardest of hearts not to feel for the little 'solemn girl' whose closest intimacy with her mother was playing with 'the large roller brush/she used to restructure her perm', and whose daddy was 'forever driving out of her existence', Moore is the stronger poet when her emotional intelligence probes other woundings. Her well-informed dissection of more generalised dispossession draws on everything from 'prisoners in leg irons' sent out to Australia from the 'Mother Country' in the late 18th century, to the Scottish Highlands clearances - and it is deeply disquieting how much detail is contemporaneously pertinent here. The prose poem 'Trafficked Women Drown Off French Coast', for example, refers to an incident in 1833 in which the ship, the Amphitrite, bound for New South Wales with its 'live cargo' of 108 women and 12 children, sank near Calais with the loss of all but three crew members. 'Some Amphitrite women were economic migrants, seeking better lives elsewhere', says Moore. The bald, journalistic style is particularly effective in leaving us free to make our own links, supply own emotions.
In fact, the book's many different voices and styles - found poems, haiku, tight tercets, experimental forms - give a scrapbook-type feel, which helps lighten the heavy load. But ultimately it is Moore's ecopoetry and, specifically our indivisibility from Nature, which offers hope. In 'Forests of the Psyche' she reminds us of 'the wild being we barely know/ we are' , and in 'Devil's Rope' about a crow killed by a 'vicious gibbet' (and preceded by the Donald Trump quote, 'Barbed wire used properly can be a beautiful sight'), we are shown how it is our attitude to 'this mirror of our culture's darkness' that can lift us above it, enabling us to face the world's suffering / and yet to love', and see the 'improvised 'e' ' of the bird's claws as standing not for 'epitaph' or 'entreaty' but for 'empathy' and 'ennoblement of Crow'.
From pain comes knowledge, realisation, redemption, and it is a strong voice here that shares those insights."
Dawn Gorman, in Caduceus Magazine, 2020
“In her Blake-vision for the planet, Helen Moore intones, invokes, implores and damns. Ecozoa is a summoning-up of all animals, plants, rocks and soil, to have their say as humans dissolve the planet, as the State rides roughshod over the rights of humans and environment. Moore's is an assertive plea for the earth to reclaim its intactness, its wholeness in the face of human destruction, human abuse. But it's also calling across time to our human ancestors, a gathering of the human condition, a roll-call of all those who have suffered and need to be given voice - accounting for the costs of human using human for personal and collective gain.
This is nothing less than a declaration of nature's independence, a manifesto for human engagement that is inclusive, respectful and aware of the impact all of us make in our day-to-day lives on the earth's living body. It is passionate and compassionate, angry but also speaking from within the condition, the crisis.
There's also a vital ecofeminism here that takes responsibility, and realigns the Goddess as a force for addressing the monopolising of all religions by the tools of military-industrial violence. And all of this cased in prophetic utterances underpinned by gritty realism - blending invocation and reportage. In Moore is a feminist-Ginsberg-channelling-Blake - a voice we need, a voice that will not be silenced by vested interests. This is science as justice, poetry as action. Though deeply crafted, these poems are no mere ornaments for our consumption. And there's a terrible beauty in all of this that needs to be understood as an affirmation of all existence. If the poems hold to account, the book offers us a means of healing - it is a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics.”
- John Kinsella on ECOZOA
"Helen Moore’s Ecozoa is oratorical. This is eco-poetics, activism on the page... I admired the poet’s stamina: poem after poem calling time on destructive ways of thinking about our relationship to the earth, her courage in speaking or even shouting out what needs to be heard, through a variety of forms and characters: as daughter of dodmen; or in a Court transcript in the brilliant and Second Light prize-winning long poem, Earth Justice; or Noah’s daughter - ‘Ah, sighs Noah’s daughter, these rains/are all the tears that people never shed’, from Ark Rains, from Aberdeen to Zennor). I felt I was being informed (about campaigns, the language of eco-politics, the significance of women and feminism in the survival of the planet; what is happening to the earth, the atmosphere, how we might have to live after climate change, in Climate Adaptation, #1 and #2)."
- Kay Syrad, Artemis Magazine, Nov 2015
“The role of the poet includes stretching us beyond our everyday life. Helping us to see the world with new eyes. And giving voice to those intangible feelings within. In ECOZOA Helen does all of these things, bringing into our consciousness the Ecozoic Era – an era that, as Thomas Berry says, “we must will into being”. An era where we are all part of, and in relationship with, an evolving planet. Not passengers plundering the resources for our own gain.
In this book, the poem 'Deep Time, Deep Tissue' does more than science or explanations can do – it connects with my imagination and transports me into being part of the cosmos, away from my earthly body..”
- ECOZOA reviewed by Ian Mowll, in Green Spirit Magazine
"Moore draws on the rich ecofeminist traditions of Rosemary Radford Ruether, Thomas Berry, Joanna Macy and Ivone Gebara. Traditional patriarchal theology has seen nature as subservient to ‘man’ and inanimate (Christ, 2002: 89), but Moore’s work sees the soul, depth and power of all that lives."
- Sara Iles reviewing in Feminist Theology, 25-1, 2016
"Helen's language is crafted like the finest sculpture, but this poetry is also visceral and pulsating. She has the ability to stand at the threshold of another world, looking back into this broken time, whilst beckoning us into the promise of the Great Turning. This creates an exquisite tension in her work."
- Maddy Harland, author of Fertile Edges: Regenerating land, culture and hope, on ECOZOA
"Helen Moore’s poetry is an inch of topsoil built up over millennia; a living cell seen teeming under a microscope; a galaxy’s lucid dream. These poems pulse with ecstatic exuberance, linguistic intensity, and pleasing complexity coupled with profound insight. Embodying the evolutionary, Deep-Time vision of writers like Thomas Berry, Moore’s stunning work stretches us between decaying political systems and the Earth’s enchanted cosmopolis. When Walt Whitman wrote of “expecting the main things” from “poets to come,” he must have been anticipating Helen Moore."
- Drew Dellinger, author of Love Letter to the Milky Way
Mary Cresswell's review of ECOZOA in Plumwood Mountain Journal, click here to read.
Lindsay Clarke's review of ECOZOA in Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, click here to read.
"Helen Moore has something to say, and the artistry to say it: actually a pretty rare combination. The urgency and emphasis of her message as an ‘ecopoet’ could easily become polemic in less skilful hands; but hers are very skillful, and it’s a grave delight to read.
Structured around Blake’s Four Zoas, and conceived in the inheritance of his vision as poetry for now, it begins on the massage table in ‘Deep Time, Deep Tissue’: a sustained meditation on the body which also stands for the earth and our relationship to it (the body is ecology). The poem moves precisely through connection, at once personal and transpersonal, which stands as a metaphor for all the poems that follow, which include ‘Kali Exorcism’, ‘A History of the British Empire in a Single Object’ (a folding rocking chair), the magnificent ‘Earth Justice’ (dedicated to eco-lawyer Polly Higgins, founder of the concept of Ecocide she is working to register internationally as a crime), ‘Spaced Out’ which I’ve included in my new anthology Diamond Cutters (with Andrew Harvey, due in 2016), and ‘Succession, Hampton Court Palace’.
You’ve probably already guessed how political her work also is, and the gift of this collection is its inclusivity, always the hallmark of a major poet. It’s also a fine production from the founders of Permaculture magazine in East Meon, Hampshire."
- Jay Ramsay reviewing ECOZOA for Caduceus Magazine