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New Writer 2019: Alice Tarbuck


Alice Tarbuck is a poet living in Edinburgh. Her first pamphlet, Grid, was published by Sad Press in spring 2018. Her work has been commissioned by Durham Literary Festival, the Sheffield Post Office Gallery, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish PEN, and Timespan in Helmsdale. She is part of 12, an Edinburgh women’s poetry collective.

Recent poems appear in: Antiphon, Dundee Writes, New Writing Dundee, RAUM, Three Elements Review, Cumulus, Erotoplasty, Adjacent Pineapple (run by Colin Herd), Antiphon, The Scotsman newspaper, Zarf, Datableed, Glasgow Review of Books Online, 404 Ink's Literary Journal and Hot Tub Astronaut. Inclusions in anthologies include: Dusk: Solstice Poems(Arachne Press), Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe) and for prose, 404 Ink’s Nasty Women and Monstrous Regiment’s The Bi-ble.

Writing Sample


This is morning and nothing to do with it. Leaven! Heave

and hum. In simple language - levant, orior.

Pearlash morning,

potash dawn: ooze




fertilise. Inland seas are bellies with no child. Saltwater soap

suds in the sea and so, and so, clean sailors can be born.

A mother is a corset. A mother is a sea with no wave.

A mother is feldspar moment,



and birthed of magma.

Under weather, it produces

clay-shaped daughters, kiln-creatures,

all brittle glaze,

all egg-wash,

underwear, and brandy. Baths that bankrupt the water tank,

smoke that unlatches the window,

sniggers in the rowdy desert which is rich

in everything but precipitation.

Clay sucks the wet out of everything and gifts

a dry lick of dust. Deserts are children with no mothers.

Deserts are a type of waiting.

Deserts are good enough for observatories,

And occasional flowering.

Alice says:

"I am delighted and grateful to have been awarded a New Writer’s Award. I have always admired the work of previous winners, and am excited to be given the time and resources to focus on my poetry."