Feminist zoom poetry launch with Jo Bratten’s ‘Climacteric’ debut and Helen Bowie’s ‘Exposition Ladies’

  • DATE

    12 September 2022

  • TIME

    7:30 pm to 8:55 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



On Zoom – 7.30pm start
7.40pm – Jo Bratten performs from ‘Climacteric’
8pm – Helen Bowie performs from ‘Exposition Ladies’
8.20pm – Q and A

About the books:



1. a critical period or event.

“the first major climacteric in twenty-first-century poetry”

2. the period of life when fertility and sexual activity are in decline; (in women) menopause.

“most women do not experience significant psychological problems at the climacteric”


“our hair

is coming out in clumps; we are sweeping

it from corners, from beneath the bed,

gathering it into our

sleepless nest”

How can we love ourselves at the climacteric of our lives; of the planet?

Jo Bratten’s debut poetry chapbook bubbles with anger and guilt at the failures of both spirit and body and a coming to terms with loss, for the natural passing of loved ones, and the unnatural passing of our planet’s ecosystems. These poems offer solace: you are not alone – “In the fractured dark we’re all doomscrolling/before dawn, lit up like Caravaggios.” They offer the simplest kind of love: the joy that can be found within nature.

“I loved these poems. Jo Bratten’s work has a dark, foreboding quality but it’s also inventive, sensual, and caustic, with bags of attitude and fresh language. Highly recommended.”

– Luke Wright

In the fractured dark we’re all doomscrolling

before dawn, lit up like Caravaggios:

Author Biography

Jo’s poetry has been published in Ambit, bath magg, Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House, The North, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, The Rialto and Under the Radar, amongst others. Originally from the USA, Jo completed a PhD at the University of St Andrews and lives in London. Climacteric is her debut chapbook.

Exposition Ladies

“I am the exposition lady; in soft focus I undress

while listening to Max Richter on vinyl; I eat a

pastry in my underwear; I stretch, pull back the

curtains; I am carefree; a perfume advert; a

vaseline lens to a teenage dream”

In this chapbook, Helen Bowie composes a love letter to the poorly-scribbled female characters of Hollywood and beyond, who exist solely to move the plot along.

These witty poems navigate the eco-systems that women navigate. They ask us to think: what do the roles we see on stage and screen tell us about the roles expected of women in society?

“Bowie’s Exposition Ladies is an astute examination of female agency in film. With clarity of language and vision, Bowie has served up a smorgasbord of vivid, urgent female voices, giving voice to characters who are fringed, sidelined, ignored, objectified, crammed into a bit part, reduced to a cut-out – women made disposable in service of someone else’s story, “just here for exposition, never for myself”. These monologues are humorous, insightful, and chilling by turns.” – Angela Cleland

“Every film has an exposition lady. Never noticed her before? You will after this. Exposition Ladies is an inventive collection that captures intimate close ups of women who are only ever allowed to be in the wide shot.” -Daisy Leigh-Phippard, screenwriter, director and writer for ScreenQueens

“Confronting absurdity with playful forms and sensitive observations, Helen Bowie’s Exposition Ladies delivers a witty caustic takedown of the formulaic female in film. Movie lovers will enjoy, as I did, lingering on a well-crafted line to figure out what the referent film could possibly be.”

– Sarah Dean, writing on film and screen content @screendeetz