Flowers in the Blood by Beverley Ferguson – launch in Bath

On Friday November 7th Poetry Space supporters are warmly invited to attend the launch of Beverley Ferguson’s  brand new collection Flowers in the Blood. The event is at St James Wine Vaults in Bath and starts at 7.30pm.

I think for all of us who write there are moments in our life when this becomes essential for survival. This happened to Beverley in 1999, when as a young mum with a career in the caring professions her life took an unexpected turn and she was admitted to psychiatric hospital for the first time. This and the second spell in hospital gave rise to much of the poetry in this book. However these poems are far from raw experience, as I realised when I first encountered Beverley’s work.  They are well crafted poems that deserve to be read by everyone. If you have ever been a mother, a daughter, a wife or a partner; if you have been at any time in your life a patient in  hospital; if you have found yourself vulnerable and at at the mercy of others for care, for compassion, for love, you will recognise yourself here and carry these poems in your heart.

Do come along. There will be guitar music, you can buy drinks from the bar and you can hear me read too from my 2010 pamphlet collection Irene’s Daughter.










Ferguson’s poetry is controlled and well crafted, deeply personal yet wonderfully open and fiercely impressive. She is adept at using language and line breaks.To simply call the poems in this collection brave and honest, which indeed they are, does fail to do justice to this remarkable book.

Here is a poet honing her considerable poetic skills, combining an ability to communicate the small and the huge with admirable honesty and courage.

A book of inner landscapes that dares the reader to delve further to reveal a greater understanding of the complexities of mental illness and beyond.

Eileen Carney Hulme


There is a powerful crie-de-coeur at the centre of these brave poems, descibing the horror of the effacement and estrangement the mental patient feels  from the net of “chaos” through which fish fall, to birds falling through “space” that “opens wide”. There is frequent reference to mirrors, in which the patient can’t see herself, and reference to the fact that in psychiatric hospital mirrors are removed. “Inside this place/ with no mirrors/ you won’t see me”. Disturbing, courageous rough diamonds, these tough-talking poems.

Gill McEvoy


Beverley Ferguson’s collection, Flowers in the Blood, is a powerful voice by a daughter, mother and partner coming to terms with ageing and generational shift. Her role as poet and author, by turn harshly satirical, deeply moving observations has given her an active stance which redresses the passive role into which uncaring professionals cast her. This will no doubt spur her on to independence, full recovery and further wise poetry that will warn others to spurn psychiatry’s toxic personalities and drugs, and recover their sense of trust in others and themselves. The flowers in her own blood and blood line bloom in this book, and show how a creative resurgence can build a stronger resilience through instinct than all the coercion and bullying of medics who try to make one comply with mere opinion. I wish this poet well and hope she holds onto her own prescribing and poetic voice.


Sarah Wardle


I’ve enjoyed reading Beverley’s poems again. I wasn’t sure if you wanted something to quote or simply some written feedback, but the poems that have most impact on me are the ones where Beverley addresses her own mental health issues and her experience of being treated for these. “Illness” remains a favourite (and not just because I singled it out for first prize in the Poetry Space competition!). It has a hard-won simplicity about it and says more by saying less.

Philip Lyons