Hilary Menos

Hilary Menos was born in Luton in 1964, studied PPE at Wadham College, Oxford and worked as a student union activist, journalist, and Time Outrestaurant critic in London before moving to Devon to renovate a Domesday Manor.Between 2004 and 2011 she and her husband ran a 100 acre organic farm breeding pedigree Red Devon cows and Wiltshire Horn sheep.

She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013, and worked with Exeter-based children's theatre company Quirk Theatre as dramaturge and script overseer.

Her first pamphlet, Extra Maths, was a winner in The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition 2004, and her second pamphlet, Wheelbarrow Farm, was a winner in the Templar Poetry Pamphlet and Collection Competition 2010. Her first collection, Berg (Seren, 2009), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2010. Her second collection, Red Devon, was published by Seren in June 2013.

She has four sons and lives in France.




'She has the rare ability to uncover the wide range of implications of the world we live in, be they emotional, spiritual or literary. Here is a new poet with a full locker of accomplishments.' — John Stammers

'Elegant, witty, poignant, polished. This is poetry that makes me gasp.' — John Latham

'She observes her personal life and transmutes it into poetry with skill and purpose.' — Gerard Benson

'crackles with formal skill, with extraordinary, vibrant language … and with great style' — Carol Ann Duffy

'This is someone who reflects an expert at work but has their own vivid way of seeing and acting.' — Ruth Padel


'Menos creates small worlds packed tight, seamless, masterfully compressed. Her poems have wit, range and strength; they are contemporary, varied and highly imaginative.' — Ruth Padel



I want to write you a small square poem
that starts with space and a vague notion of form
then pitches in headlong - not holding its nose
at the pull of another body - to atmosphere,
the curve of coastline, a fjord's fold and wrinkle,
borders, boundaries, the abrupt hyphenation of dams,
and hurtles through the sprawl of domes and spires
of a small Italian town to a piazza where,
between candy-stripe carts of ice-cream sellers,
past lunchtime chatter, waiters bringing Lavazza
and orange juice, it finds firm ground,
lands on the page like a flag, like a map of a world
impossible to resist and, catching the wind,
unfurls and soars like a bird circling the square.

Titles by this author

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