Tessa West


I have written two collections of poems.

One is "The Other Vikings". The idea of writing poems in the voice of or about women of the Viking age came to me when I realised that almost all the images we have of Vikings – whether real or imagined - are of men.

I produced a unique hand-made book made up of sheets joined together in concertina style. Most of the pages are printed with the poems or simple mono-prints, and the whole book is best displayed on a large surface which people can walk round.

The poems are also available in a booklet.
Vikings Standing
£5.99 - buy here

Fox Books - ISBN 978-0-9543627-3-7


Gannets whirr and whirl in the distance.

Behind me, shaela sheep
pick their way up the track.
The clammy mist gradually peels back
to reveal black, wet rocks,
and beyond these the grass is so green
it’s almost shouting.

In front a calm surface spreads out.
Five ships are heading east,
sails spread wide as they make
their steady way across the flat sea
towards a dawn the colour of speedwell.

Now I see bent backs in the two boats
being rowed this way. They will soon
reach here with silks, cinnamon, saffron,
and, I hope, more goats and hens.

Above me, swifts scream and scythe.
It is a day to rejoice in.

"Maps & Poems"

The title of the other collection is "Maps & Poems", which comprises an exhibition of 22 maps and the 22 poems I have written in response to the maps.
South America
South America Rainfall and Temperature

A continent draped with colour, calmness, elegance.
A place cooled and warmed by swathes of pink.
All that’s here are folds of heat and pools of poured rain.
No roads or railways. No cities.
Curves instead of angles. Numbers not names.
A single smooth surface instead of mountains.
Some minor fraying along the south-western edge.
Nothing is named but water: Tapajoz, Xingu, Humboldt, Pacific.
The Amazon heads east, the Parana south.
The Equator is a thin line.