Hello! I’m Hel Gurney, and I write things.
My poetry has been published in the UK, the USA, and on one occasion translated into Russian. I’ve been performing poems since 2011, and am sceptical about the distinction between ‘page poetry’ and ‘stage poetry’. My poetry frequently looks at gender, mythology, and landscape – themes of memory, borders, embodiment, and identity also tend to recur. I write in a variety of styles, including free-verse, traditional forms such as sonnets, and translations/adaptations of Old English and Classical works. I love lifting things up from the past and making them sing anew. My poem ‘Hair’ was nominated for the 2013 Rhysling Awards.
I also write other things: articles, essays, fiction, and the occasional academic paper. My current principal focus is writing a collection of fairytales: some are responses to and deconstructions of existing stories; others are new tales working within/against the tradition as a whole. You can listen to one of them, The Mermaid’s Wish, by clicking here. I’ve been known to appear in the world of student politics, and I’m a passionate supporter of feminist and LGBT causes. If you find me onstage, I’m probably reading poetry or fairytales – but there’s a growing chance I’ll be singing or acting, and I’m even plotting to direct a play or two…
I have run arts-based fundraisers for a number of community causes (e.g. youth groups, rape crisis centres) through my project The Cutlery Drawer – however, this endeavour is currently on hiatus, due to a lack of the time and resources to make sure the events are as good as they can be.
I have roots in Oxfordshire, and I’ve lived and studied in both London and Brighton. I’m currently based in London, but my time gets divided (unequally) between all three.
(Frequent questioning compels me to point out that Hel is my real name.)