Natalie Rees lives in West Yorkshire, where she runs a private practice as a Play & Creative Arts Therapist.
She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester, and has been published and won prizes in the PENfro Poetry Competition, Flambard Press Poetry Prize, Poets & Players Poetry Competition, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, and Ink, Sweat & Tears.
Natalie was born and raised in Clonmel, Ireland, by a German mother and an Irish father,who were both pastors of a Pentecostal Christian church.
Filled with unforgettable lines, a wry humour and keen and exact observations, these poems range far and wide in their explorations of female desire and sexuality. In her examination of an unusual childhood, Rees refuses to look away from the difficult truth of how darkness and love can coexist.
In this impressive debut, startling images and dream-like narratives drift across the page, never quite settling. Natalie Rees has an original voice and an unflinching gaze. Themes embracing relationships, childhood trauma, and recovery are navigated with skill, elegance, and wit. There’s potency in what’s left unsaid, in the hesitancy of a line-break, the held breath of white space.
The poems in Low Tide pick their way through a minefield of ideals and ideas about the body, gender, family and faith; addressing themselves to lovers, a husband, preachers, the language of the Bible, the German language of a mother, the dead, the emergency services and, in one of its most brilliant poems, Laura Ingalls. Low Tide faces up to the world. It is powerful work, a poetry of becoming.
that summer the sea spread her white arms
across the bay dragged back the whelks the driftwood
the lobster traps the nylon mesh wiped the spray
from the tops of the children’s heads
left them naked on the shore
they sat there with vacant eyes
shoving fistfuls of sand into their dry mouths
one day you’ll thank me she told them
crawling backwards scraping her knees
along the rocky bed
shhhhh shhhhsh shush the oldest one said
as she grew smaller
a pencil-blue line
so static you could balance a glass marble on her
the children walked for days to get her back
it was hard to see where the sky ended
and their blue mother began
flat and lifeless on the edge
of their world
nothing else but sand for miles
the younger ones crying because their feet were so hot
when will mother stand up is she sleeping?
Mother when you left I couldn’t find the word
every time I closed my eyes to focus
all I could see were coral bones ebbing further
you moved with such harmony I thought
to not be alive must be a beautiful thing