The Poems

books 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.

dartofgreenIf you like the poems on this site then please do consider buying one of my collections. My first collection is hard to get hold of but later collections are available on Amazon.

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!

6 thoughts on “The Poems

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  4. Not really a comment on the poems but on poetry as comfort. I recommend to Liz that she gets hold of the New Yorker for August 4 2014 and reads the profile of poet Edward Hirsch about the loss of his son Gabriel.. a mild form of autism/Tourette’s Syndrome.. and the poems that will be published in the US later this year. We ought to put together an anthology of poems by parent poets of the disabled.. intellectually/ learning/physical…. it is all about responding to pain and loss and whether or not as Hirsch says- ‘Art can’t give him back to me. It comforts you some,better than almost anything else,but you’re still left with your losses’. But do we write out of agony in the first place .. even though when the day closes we are ,as he says, left with the losses ?



    • Hello M – lovely to hear from you. I will look up Hirsch – thank you for the recommendation. Yes, poetry as comfort. Dylan is going through a difficult time at the moment. It has been agonising (for both of us) some days. Nothing has seemed to make it better. Then, just yesterday, I saw a poem – I had almost forgotten the healing power of writing so to be reminded that there is still this – and that it can transform, in its way – was very comforting. Interesting that you mention an anthology – for some time now I’ve been toying with the idea and have started a folder of poems that might go in such a thing. I had in mind to produce an education-related anthology first, linked to some work I’ve been doing at Hallam, before moving onto disability. I did get as far as discussing the education one with Ross Bradshaw at Five Leaves, thinking it was something he might be interested in, but the sticking point of course is copyright fees. Keeping it contemporary gets around this of course (I had in mind a historical sweep originally). What an interesting idea though – yes, we ought to do it!


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