Changing Room

From cramped cubicles to rented bedrooms, hallways that become highways in the sleepless hours, to the space and beauty of a shrine; Woodford’s award-winning poems revisit old rooms and find new ones following the birth of a child and the passing of time in the family home and beyond.

There are ship rats, bed-socks, KitKats and, in the poem Work which was a Ledbury prize winner, the post it notes and endless afternoons of office life. Changing Room includes poems from Woodford’s Leverhulme residency at Durham Law School as well a sequence on ageing and getting out which appeared on buses in the North of England and as part of a touring exhibition in libraries.

Anna Woodford’s meditative new poems are full of an exquisite sense of time and change, reckoning and reconsideration. In deceptively plain language, full of beautifully straightforward music, these poems pare back layers of history to explore family, the flesh and deep feeling with great acuity and wisdom.

Jacob Polley, judge of the Northern Writers Awards
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Book cover for Changing Room by Anna Woodford Paperback: 64 pages Publisher: Salt Publishing Cover illustration: Hisako Ando Publication date: 15 July 2018 ISBN: 9781784630881
Prize winner at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2017

Work

These are the things I never wrote about - the Nurofen. The smiley mug. Postscript by Seamus Heaney blu-tacked to my bit of wall. Nick hovering in the office doorway as though he wasn’t the boss. Nick in his slippers sometimes. The in tray where my twenties were to do. The little window in the computer room overlooking the houses I dreamed about living in with my ex. The clock where it was never home or lunch. The clock whose hands I hung off like the silent movie star in the poster stuck in a hazy Freshers' Week bedroom. In those days when nothing was connected the slowest modem in. the. world. The work skirt, Mum’s cardie, the clogs with gold studs I remember in detail as if my history were no more substantial. My getting the milk and phone Hello Gateway Communications. The cheese bites, strawberries dipped in chocolate, lunches with lots of knives and glasses on our birthdays when what we wanted was a day off. The team meeting. The low ceiling. Nick singing Here Comes My Happiness Again (again and again). These are the things I never wrote about when I was starting to write or maybe it was before my pen was my own and writing was copy for Leech Homes and press releases pending the one tick two ticks of approval, the stuff we went through after Nick died, the mountain of stuff he never got on top of and buried under the weight of everything the photo of him in his twenties grinning and sticking up two fingers. This poem would stop a stanza short without Kate and I in a gallery cafe a decade or so later on a weekday which is not exactly a window into my life but how it was that day. This poem is a side, a plank of olives, an unmade sandwich on a spread table - we are discussing Emotional Labour, ephemera, things that get left out of archives. We are talking about YAY! scribbled on a memo which for Kate is YAY! conjures the boss uplifting the whole team but for me is a wacky hat, a happy dance, a clashing font, too many exclamation marks You Don't Have to Be Mad etc or something more like Morse, Like help, More like help me please I'm drowning