To graft something is to fix two things together like tree branches or skin to heal or grow something new. The word graft originates from the Old Norse groftr, meaning to dig, and is also linked with the verb grave, an ancient Germanic one also meaning to dig. The poems in Graft attempt to bring things together - ideas and cultures, people, sometimes to heal. Sometimes there are unlikely pairs: science and magical thinking, fact and fiction, myth and history. Sometimes there are more predictable pairings with less predictable outcomes - mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They dig away at things, trying to find a truth or an answer or a lost person. What we find is often not what we are looking for.
Winner of New Zealand Post Book Awards: Best First Book of Poetry 2013.
Shortlisted for Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize 2013.
"Helen Heath's poems are more than usually aware of the exits and entrances that shape us: they shuttle between past and present, shroud and wedding gown, the lives we lead and the lives we aspire to. Sometimes they do their digging in tough or broken terrain, but they are always alert for points of continuity, connection, and wholeness." - Bill Manhire
Helen Heath's poetry has been published in many journals in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at the IIML in 2009. Helen's chap-book of poems called Watching for Smoke was also published by Seraph Press in 2009. She blogs at helenheath.com and writes poetry and essays. She is currently working toward her PhD Creative Writing at Victoria University. Her research project explores how science is represented in poetry. She is using this research to write poems about the intersect between people and technology. Helen won the inaugural ScienceTeller Poetry Award in 2011 for her poem 'Making Tea in the Universe'.