The Invisible Girl by EE Nobbs

The Invisible Girl is Elly Nobbs’ first pamphlet published by Doire Press, after she won their competition. Those of us who have been enjoying Elly’s work for years think she deserved this ages ago so many thanks to Doire for recognising her wonderful work. I think this is a magical book, charged with a vibrant inner life and a questing mind. Elly makes new connections between curiosities in her own life and in the wider world in a tender and affectionate way and often to devastating effect. She knows what she is doing!
TIG compressed

So, I couldn’t resist asking her a few questions:

Q1. Although I already knew the poem, All I want is a pony, and (it is on Featured Writers already) I was choked up to see this as the first poem. It was, for me, like experiencing this apparently simple but really astonishing poem for the first time all over again. What was your thinking as you selected and ordered the poems?

E:It seemed natural for me to start with poems triggered by memories of how it felt to grow up on a farm. I wanted to acknowledge and honour my roots . But I no longer live in a rural community. I’ve lived in the city for many years now. Otherwise the ordering of the poems is a bit of a hodge-podge.

Q2. The title of your book is The Invisible Girl. This is a very wise and magical title and suggests we all carry around an invisible girl or boy within us, too. The central poem, Space Ship Captain, ends with ‘…and she’s invincible’…. were the two words, invisible and invincible, consciously connected?

E: As a kid, I had an invisible friend/alter ego – Jonny Kane, Space Ship Captain. Jonny left – when I was 8 or 9 – I’m not exactly sure now. But I’ve never forgotten him. In the last few years, I’ve started to look for him again. “Space Ship Captain” is the one poem I wrote new specifically for The Invisible Girl. The book title came to me after I’d chosen the painting I’d wanted for the cover (one of my husband’s – I knew that I wanted to use one of his). But after I had the book title, I wanted to have a poem which actually showed the invisible girl in action. And it eventually turned out to a way to include Jonny too – annd connect these two characters. Invisibility- like everything in life – has advantages and disadvantages. But yes, I made a conscious decision – Jonny & T.I.G. are both invincible. I wanted to explore the strengths of the inner life, the imagination and the spirit – and to see where it could take us all – if we keep open to possibilities.

YES, Elly, thanks so much for that. For further information:
Elly blogs at and you can see more about The Invisible Girl there and read her reviews.

Although I have many favourites here is one of them(hope the formatting stays where it should, naughty wordpress!):

Elmira Sweetheart
On my slow
morning walks
I gather up

twigs, the deadwood
from hedges and

sheets of drybark
from rotted trees; they look

like torn pages

from books;I snap
fallen branches

in half to make
excellent kindling

to start raging fires, every
evening, this winter; they will

help keep my old lovers
all stacked now, neatly

in rows, next to the cook stove
in the kitchen,

to go crackle, stay hot
for hours.

Elly’s footnote: The Sweetheart is a high-efficiency, airtight wood-burning, cooking stove with ‘lustrous nickel trim’ in the syle of some late nineteenth century stoves – manuufactured by the Elmira Stove Works, Canada in the 1980s; now by Heartland and I owned one in the 1990’s

About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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6 Responses to The Invisible Girl by EE Nobbs

  1. Really good to read this and to learn where the invisible girl came from – I have enjoyed this book immensely – it is in the little pile on my bedside table. “All I Want is a Pony” is one of my favourite poems and Elmira Sweetheart (what a great name for a stove) always gives the reader a warm glow. Great interview – always good to hear authors talking about their work. It adds more colour so thank you both.

    • E.E. Nobbs says:

      Thanks, Valerie 🙂
      Your comments give me a “warm glow”. And thanks also to Becky for blogging about my T.I.G.! The questions that Becky asked helped me think about some things, that I may not have gotten into words otherwise.

  2. ros1eb says:

    Great to see you have a collection. And I will look forward to getting it. I enjoyed seeing how you worked on the Writing the Difficult Stuff course January ’13. Thank you.. RosieB.

  3. Pingback: My Writing Process – Blog Tour | elly from earth

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