I have written a number of poems about Dylan and my experience of living with autism, and some of these are relevant to the issues I am reflecting on through this blog. If I feel that one of these poems says something more powerfully than I could in prose, or if I think a poem might illuminate an issue in some way, then I include it. The blog posts are written so that you can skip the poems if you like without losing the sense of a piece. However, sometimes I say a few words about the poem to explain what I was trying to communicate, or to give some background to it, which hopefully helps to integrate the prose and poems.
All the poems I include in my blog are already published in journals or taken from one or other of my collections. Poets are often very self-critical, particularly of their first collections, and I am no exception. The poems I am including from my first collection, Walking on Tiptoe, were written a long time ago, when I was just starting out as a writer, and in including them here I am certainly not holding them up as poetic models. I am aware of their technical weaknesses and immaturity. However, they are a record of a time and I believe that they communicate some of the rawness of emotion I felt in the early years after Dylan was diagnosed as autistic. When I have tried to revise them so that they are more sophisticated as pieces of writing, they lose their heart. So I offer them here in the spirit of the time in which they were written.
Elizabeth Barrett, Walking on Tiptoe (Staple First Editions, 1998)
Elizabeth Barrett, The Bat Detector (Wrecking Ball Press, 2005)
Elizabeth Barrett, Walking on Tiptoe and Other Poems (Bluechrome Press, 2007)
Elizabeth Barrett, A Dart of Green and Blue (Arc Publications, 2010)
The Wrecking Ball and Arc books are also available direct from the publishers – thanks for your support – poetry needs readers!