News

Some of these posts are not in chronological order as they have been added retrospectively

Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 - 

Eyewear Publishing


This was the thrilling moment the great heaving door to 'getting published' creaked open, not least because it led to the publishing of my pamphlet. It was wonderful to be included in such a lineup and I met quite a few of the included poets at the launch of the anthology. The brilliant and lovely Jo Burns performed and we've kept in touch since (I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of her recently-launched pamphlet Circling For Gods. Her work is special.) 


It's a diverse anthology and a great way to introduce yourself to emerging poets.


Click to buy from Eyewear Publishing

LAUNCHED: Trial By Scar - Eyewear Publishing

December 10th 2017

At last! For a mere slip of a volume this took some time. It's my debut pamphlet of poems that I'd written over the course of seven years while I was finding my voice and the direction my interest was taking. 


From the blurb, "Trial By Scar explores the pivotal points in life's inevitable crises. Watershed moments arise from a stranger's act of kindness, brutality in the natural world, or a last chance to escape. A butterfly battles to emerge from its chrysalis, a young woman is commodified by the music business, and a baby's insistent needs offer a mother the chance to start anew. Deborah Turnbull considers how our human responses to duress determine our futures. She questions whether help is coming and how we can save ourselves. Trial By Scar explores fleeting moments of reprieve within traumatic times, offers templates for recovery and is a reminder of our ability to thrive." 


Many of the poems are direct from my own experiences, while others are observations of how I see similar themes of trauma and renewal playing out in the wider world and politically. 


Click to buy from Eyewear Publishing

Click to buy from Amazon


See 'Reviews'.



Deb's dead, baby. Deb's dead.

March 15, 2018

If you're thinking I look *slightly* rough here I'll forgive you. I'd had 'dead' makeup expertly applied by Jane Aspinall, a special effects makeup artist (who worked on shows such as Holby City and Inspector George Gently) as part of my own makeup training. I volunteered myself — in fact, I think I was the only student who offered myself to be killed off — with great hope; I wanted to see what I might look like when I die, and how that would feel. Like a shamanic experience. 


I have long felt that it's good and healthy to face one's own mortality and live with its revelation, and I'm fascinated by how simulating death via special effects makeup, even though we know it's not real, can give us an experience of being confronted with death. I later wrote a poem about it, and decided that death would be the subject of my next collection.


The tutorial was a turning point for me. I was asked to be very very still for the photos, to fix my gaze. I tried to induce a death-like expression in my body and face. My mind seemed to separate from the voices around me. 


Later in the bath while I was trying to scrub the livid purple grease paint from my hairline I recalled my own near death experience in India, and how my life had been saved by my close friend Paul who I was travelling with. He somehow knew I was dying, this wasn't just sickness, and he acted with great courage and wit. I felt great appreciation that if it weren't for him, carrying me to medical aid and assisting in my resuscitation, I wouldn't be here now, alive in warm water and having this delightful memory of how I once nearly died.