This highly accomplished debut collection explores what it means to belong, what it means to be on the margins. This is poetry written in praise of family and community and those qualities which make us human: love, language and, most of all, resilience.In Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands Sarah Wimbush journeys through myth and memory with poetry rooted in Yorkshire. From fireside tales of Romany Gypsies and Travellers, through pit villages and the haunt of The Miners’ Strike, to the subliminal of the everyday – including poems about typists, pencil sharpeners and learning to drive in a Ford Capri.
"A thrilling debut that kept me outdoors in the grassy world of communal lives. I love the formal dazzle and linguistic dare that spoke of defiance, survival and utter joy." - Daljit Nagra, author of Look We Have Coming to Dover!
‘‘There is a Romany saying, ‘We are all one: all who are with us are ourselves’: Sarah Wimbush’s collection draws us into the world of Travellers with linguistic panache and delight.”— David Morley, leading British poet from Roma background
‘I loved this stunning and substantial collection that enfolds us into the lives and experiences of Roma communities and explores mining heritage in Yorkshire.’ – Will Mackie, New Writing North
‘Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands is wise, witty and generous… It’s a fresh and alive space of reflection, and a celebration of a voiceless people; an elegy to a way of life, and to a language.’ – Maggie Mackay, The Friday Poem
‘Another female poet who drives us deep into the country of local dialect is Leeds-based Sarah Wimbush who, in Shelling Peas with my Grandmother in the Gorgiolands, introduces us to the world of Travellers, with their vardos (horse-drawn caravans), their jukels (dogs) and their dikkering (fortune-telling habits). It’s all very spirited and spikily humorous, and it’s solidly rooted in her northern territory, with its slag heaps, furnace waste and even the ghostly long-gone togetherness of miners at Markham Main Colliery, the last to stay out.’ – Michael Glover, The Tablet
‘Here, in a major collection for Bloodaxe, is a humble, and humbling, homage to her roots, scoping widely over the terrain of the sometimes less than itinerant Traveller and the backwaters of Yorkshire, which have collectively helped to shape a piecemeal sense of identity. The result is beautifully crafted and artfully delivered, drawing on a kaleidoscope of images, anecdotes and memories that clearly owe a great deal to research’ – Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times
‘Wimbush is akin to Carol Ann Duffy in her mastery of the dramatic monologue, using the genre to bring to life strong, defiant women... Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands is a rich, matrilineal quilt of a collection in which language is an heirloom intangibly precious yet so generously given. Wimbush’s poems form complete worlds on the page that keep turning after it ends, full of characters who refuse to be written out of history.’ – Ellora Sutton, Mslexia
'This is a captivating collection offering important insights into a way of life perhaps previously little-known or understood.' - Mary Mulholland, The Alchemy Spoon
‘It is a magnificent collection, and hard to credit as a debut.’ - James Roderick Burns, London Grip