We are just weeks away from the release of Rebecca Tantony’s third collection of poetry Singing My Mother’s Song, out with Burning Eye in early June.

Following her publications All the Journeys I Never Took and Talk You Round Till DuskSinging My Mother’s Song offers a stunning visual and poetic exploration into family history, diaspora, and motherhood. The book is part of a larger artistic project that spans medias and continents, combining poetry, illustration, dance, and film as it travels between the UK and South Africa. Singing My Mother’s Song is full of journeys through time, geography and memory. It tenderly and confidently delves into the past in order to construct and celebrate a future shaped by women.

‘Between a Cough and a Cry’, the opening poem of the collection, explores beginnings, voices, and the reasons why we must tell the stories within us. It is a perfect introduction to a powerful collection. The poem considers:

this is how it begins / somewhere in my body / there is a caught

song / at times I have felt it sticky on the roof of my mouth

/ tracing itself across my palms / folding my heart into a mess

/ i do not know how to sing it

Watch the film created by Rebecca and the hugely talented team of writers, dancers, and filmmakers from the UK and South Africa that have contributed to the project below.


Many of the poems in the collection experiment interestingly with form and structure. In ‘How Can Everyone Belong to Us?’, prosaic, paragraph-like stanzas are used to explore memory and cultural identity. ‘Bones’ is comprised of couplets and organised into four numbered sections, reflecting the four stages of the speaker’s journey to South Africa. Poems in the collections are paired with wonderful illustrations by Anna Higgie, who also partnered with Rebecca on her previous two collections.

Rebecca will be hosting a workshop titled Singing The Songs of Our Mothers- A Poetic Journey on Saturday 1st June 2019 from 13:00-16:00 at St. Werburghs, Bristol, UK. Singing the Songs of Our Mothers ‘is a workshop for those who want to explore the idea of how ancestry and the past inform the present and future’. For bookings and more information, please contact: words@rebecca-tantony.com

For a full list of Rebecca’s upcoming performances and events, including the book launch of Singing My Mother’s Song on June 22, please visit Rebecca’s website through the link below.