The debut collection from Australian poet Maddie Godfrey has landed today and it’s every bit of breathtaking as you thought it might be. 

and what is queerness / if not a constant attempt
to speak, and treat quiet / voices like prayer?

To be held is to be embraced. Not only by the bodies or cities around you, but also by yourself.  Maddie Godfrey’s poems are like a best friend standing behind you in the mirror, whispering truths you can’t yet speak by yourself. These poems are a lover’s hand finding yours in the dark. Although they articulate the heaviness of trauma, they are also fluent in the warmth of a well-lit room. How To Be Held reads like a manifesto to vulnerability. Maddie uses personal experiences to humanise topics such as body positivity, gender politics and self-preservation. Her words ache with an intimate familiarity, as if she is seated beside the reader on a couch or bar stool. These poems are strong in the softest way yet lingers like a diary entry which you cannot remember writing but still recognise yourself within. Even if these words do not teach you how to be held, they will embrace you.

“This book is daring, delicate defiance, an intimate ascension, an ode to survival. Poetry that crawls into your innermost thoughts and makes itself comfortable.” – Sara Hirsch

“Godfrey treats her language as a duvet she wraps around the reader, drawing them into a sanctuary of sorts.”  – Scott-Patrick Mitchell

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