Katie Beswick

Plumstead Pram Pushers

Katie Beswick’s Plumstead Pram Pushers, a coming of age collection set in South East London, is part of our 2024 in-house chapbook series.

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Katie’s work is so unflinchingly raw, you won’t know where to look. You’ll recognise yourself in her writing. She bares all with her bars. It’s all true. And sick.

Conrad Murray, Pied Piper & Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster

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Plumstead Pram Pushers is a marvel of a poetry collection, in which Beswick seamlessly melds the disparagement of female (especially working-class female) desire, the reality and insistence of that desire, and the birth of her own baby (and others’ babies as well). Her extraordinary use of language and mastery of poetic form using pop vernacular combined with her weaving of desire, longing, sadness, humiliation, beauty, judgment and forgiveness with threads alchemized from the seething cauldron of London β€” its classism, misogyny, melancholy, freneticism, and relentless aspiration β€” makes this a stunning read. In the end, this is a love poem to desire, pain, and imperfection, without which there are no new babies, no crying, burbling pink life overflowing our carefully guarded river banks.

Julia Lee Barclay-Morton, The Mortality Shot

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Katie Beswick’s Plumstead Pram Pushers is a highly visual, visceral collection of poems, evoking images that are both beautiful and painful, distressing and delightful. We get glimpses into the lives of women spanning decades and generations of working-class British life, focusing on the systematic sexualisation and desexualisation of women’s bodies.

Beswick looks at the different ways in which the male gaze and societal judgment inform how women feel about themselves, their friends and neighbours and even the state of motherhood. Reminiscent of the work of Sabrina Mahfouz and Fiona Benson, Plumstead Pram Pushers explores the duality of resilience and fragility within women’s bodies and minds.

But within this stark, unflinching critique lives true humour and playfulness β€” with tone, form, structure, rhythm, and rhyme. Beswick sometimes teases the boundaries between poetry and rap lyrics, at times explicitly acknowledging specific songs and artists.

Plumstead Pram Pushers is a deeply moving collection of poetry that plays with a series of structured and unstructured forms in order to look candidly into the experiences of working-class women in Britain over the last 30 years.

Sarah Sigal, No Caller & Daniel Deronda

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About the Author

Katie Beswick is an award-winning writer from South East London.

Her range of work spans scholarship, art criticism, theatre, music theory, poetry, prose fiction, and journalism. She is the author and editor of numerous books, features, and articles, including Making Hip Hop Theatre: Beatbox and Elements.

Her poetry has appeared in The Lit, English: Journal of the English Association, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Harpy Hybrid Review, among others.

She works at Goldsmiths University of London.

About the Artist

Jamie Wheeler is an artist, designer, and theatre-maker from the United Kingdom. He designs and makes everything from theatre props and sets to accessories and drawings. He also teaches acting and directs productions at several universities and drama schools.

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