Written by a mother and illustrated by her son, Grant, Helter Skelter by Anita Philpott tells the story of a lifetime’s relationships and experiences, told in poems and images.
The poems reflect different periods of her life and as such take many forms. Likewise Grant’s artwork uses different mediums to illustrate the uniqueness of each poem. Anita’s anthology is sometimes light-hearted, always engaging and often deeply poignant.
The subject matter of ‘Helter Skelter’ moves from birth to death, love to loss, fear and whimsy and taps into the beauty and diversity of the English language to explore often deeply felt emotions. Anita includes narrative poems written in situ which capture the immediacy of the moment. ‘Rooftop Jazz NYC’ was penned in near darkness on the back of a paper napkin in a New York City jazz club. ‘Lundy Bay’ and ‘The Tree that was Bowed’ were both written on exposed headlands in Cornwall.
The ever-changing views of the Thames estuary and Anita’s intimate knowledge of Southend-on-Sea, are frequent backdrops to both the poems and to the art. Anita takes inspiration from a number of poets, including Robert Graves, Henry Reed, Walter de la Mare, Dylan Thomas, Roger McGough and John Betjeman.
Helter Skelter captures the roller coaster nature of life. With its thought-provoking poems and beautiful illustrations, this is a book to treasure.