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Helen Kitson

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Helen Kitson is an award-winning poet and short story writer. She was born in Leicester and lives in Worcester with her husband and two children. She is an Open University student, studying towards a BA in Humanities with Art History. She began writing poetry seriously in 1990, having fallen in love with Sylvia Plath’s poetry at the age of seventeen.

In 1996 she was joint winner of the BBC Wildlife Magazine Poet of the Year competition. In 2003 she won first prize in the bluechrome poetry competition (read the poem here). Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including The Poetry Cure (Bloodaxe, 2005).

Her poetry pamphlet Seeing's Believing was published by Scratch and was short-listed for the Forward Best First Collection Prize. This was followed by a full collection, Love Among the Guilty, published by Bloodaxe in 1995. A further collection, Tesserae, was published by Oversteps in 2003. You can find out more about these books, and read sample poems, here. Her books are available from

**The Family Romance is now available from Indigo Dreams**

Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines, including Ambit, Feminist Review, Stand and Room of One's Own (Canada). Her story Miss No-Name was a runner-up in the Fish Prize competition 2001/2. She also won third prize in the 2001 Cadenza Short Story Competition.


Helen loves books and uses LibraryThing to catalogue her books. She inherited a love of reading from her maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather, and loves this photograph of her mother, grandmother and grandfather -


from Tillie Olsen, Silences

There is no disgrace in joining us Almosters. At least a little of what we had to say has been said and a few have heard and even listened (Miriam Allen De Ford)


Constriction to One Dimension – I: "Writing Like a Man"

"Several men have through the years said to me: You write like a man. They consider this a compliment. I want to ask: Which man?…Without the answer, I do not feel complimented" – Harriette Arnow

Denying profound (woman) life comprehensions and experiences expression…and of the attitude that "women’s subjects" are minor, trivial.

Writing in dominant male forms, style, although what seeks to be expressed might ask otherwise. In its extreme, consciously seeking (stereotypically) male-identified characteristics, bluntness, thrust, force (the phallacy of biological analogy)… "the large canvas", etc.


Constriction to One Dimension – II: "Writing Like a Woman"

Not being ambitious…Using writing as "a means of self-expression instead of an art"


The obvious coercions: to "write like a man" (of one’s experiences as most men write, have written, of us – Miller, Lawrence, Chaucer’s Wife of Bath); to "write like a woman" (flatter, conciliate, please, lie, the mirror to magnify men).

Telling the truth about one’s body: a necessary, freeing subject for the woman writer.


Fear – the need to please, to be safe – in the literary realm too. Founded fear. Power is still in the hands of men. Power of validation, publication, approval, reputation, coercions, penalties.


"Liberty is the right not to lie"

"What are rights without means?"



Judge me not by what I have done,

But by what I have hoped to do.

Poor Rebecca [Harding Davis]. The cry of every artist (of every human). But Proust is right. There are no excuses in art. Including having been born female in the wrong time/place.

- Tillie Olsen, Silences


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