Poetry Review: The Dog In The Sky by Helen Ivory


The Dog In The Sky by Helen Ivory
Bloodaxe Books (paperback), 2006
64 Pages

Poet’s Website

Amazon (UK)


“The Dog in the Sky” offers a view of the world that is skewed, vibrant and larger than life. Here, words turn into tiger-moths or laughing birds, the Minotaur finds his Ariadne and Pinocchio’s sister cuts loose from her strings. “The Dog in the Sky” is drunk on life, on love, on air thick with peach light, but also shows the flipside where you can’t trust the earth beneath your feet.

In her second collection, Helen Ivory takes you further into a world of illusions and transformations. Here are voices lost inside mental illness, divided and diverting selves, as well as sinister figures who control their madness and make things happen. She creates puppet shows in which larger-than-life forces pull the strings and write the scripts, drawing also from the darkly dramatic world of fairytale and myth.


She is on the edge of land, can go no further
She throws an anchor to the sky
Looks up in prayer, the wind at the nape of her neck.

I’ve never read this poet before. I went through a phase years ago when I loved Bloodaxe Books and bought loads of poetry collections and anthologies they published. I bought this because I liked the sound of it and a quick glance at some of the poems intrigued me.

The Dog in the Sky is a really enjoyable collection of poetry. Ivory write the kind of poems I love to read – and write. This a very diverse collection and the poem touch on a wide range of subject matter – from mental illness, love and obsession to myth and legend. Some dark themes run through the collection but the poems are so well written and engaging this barely registers. I absolutely loved Pinocchio’s Sister, Dark Energy, Matter, The Size of Kittens and Home Cooking. Ivory is another poet I want to read more of.

The Dog in the Sky is a great collection of poems. I’d recommend it.




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