‘What the horses heard’ goes out into the world


Last Friday evening, after 4 ½ years of writing What the horses heard, I finally opened the book in front of a crowd of people to read aloud what had been written.


Six poets: Moira Lake, Graham Burchell, Julie-ann Rowell, Fenella Montgomery, Jennie Osborne and Rosie Barrett generously supported me by reading their own stunning poems with a horse in each one. Three of those poems were specially written for the occasion and all of them released something very magical into the air that night. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was indeed a truly thrilling experience.

I admit I had been sick with nerves about this most of the week, if not many weeks beforehand. By that evening I was comforted by a certainty that I had had very little part in the writing and that somehow it had mysteriously happened somehow – so that when kind people started buying the book and even queuing to ask me to sign it (as if the name on the cover was mine) it was a surprise.


With its beautiful cover (thanks to Jan Jones’ kind permission to let me use an Anthony Amos painting and Cinnamon’s wonderful design) the writing on the pages between front and back cover has a lot to live up to. I still don’t think I did write this book: I tell you now it was Cass. She is one of the three siblings in the story. She came through as such a strong personality almost from the start she nagged me into making this happen: all the research in the Imperial War Museum, at the Friends’ House Library in Euston and at the Army medical Museum that I undertook, all the books I read, the constant experiments I made with the writing were to bring about her intentions.

Thank you to Jan Fortune at Cinnamon Press for her uplifting words and for believing in this book from the start, to all the many people who attended the launch and a special thanks to all the poetry community without whose support over many years I would never have written this. Also to the 19th century nature writer Richard Jefferies who gave me the initial impetus.
I am still feeling euphoric and elated about the fantastic evening – but also raw and exposed as people begin to read the words on the pages which may bring the story of Cass and her brothers, the other characters as well as the horses to life for them. The words come alive as they read…as
Billy Collins writes in Introduction to Poetry:
‘ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light like a colour slide

or press an ear against its hive

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out…’    I am hoping some people will do this with ‘Horses’…. and perhaps find they do hear a little of what horses hear. It is more than daunting.



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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8 Responses to ‘What the horses heard’ goes out into the world

  1. E.E. Nobbs says:

    I am so happy for you and so proud. And I have already read the book. You (and Cass) have achieved something important. Elly xxx

  2. well, we will see what happens but thank you kind Elly.

  3. rose cook says:

    Congratulations and very well done, Becky, best wishes, Rose

  4. I know what you mean about feeling vulnerable and exposed – it’s like no other feeling really, is it? I am just beginning to get to know Cass and looking forward to finding out where she takes me, even though I know it’s going to make me cry. Many congratulations Becky – those four and a half years have been well worth it and you have produced a winner. Love and best wishes – Valerie

  5. Yes, Valerie…. you are right. Someone said recently being published is like taking all your clothes off on the Circle Line and nobody taking any notice! Thank you for kind comments, Valerie.. hope you survive it!

  6. Congratulations, Becky! Sounds as if you had a lovely launch. I so wish I could have made it, but hope to come to your event in Worcester. I love that Circle Line comment and can totally identify with it! I haven’t got the book yet, but am really looking forward to reading it. Is the discount voucher still available?

  7. Hi Lindsay, nice to hear from you and YES indeed the discount code is still working at http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk as far as I know. And Amazon do have copies but won’t update the page! They havent even put up the info about the storyline! The e-book is about to come out.( I feel as if Amazon are being actually obstructive as they sold out in 2 days and took a while to re-order.) Anyway, hope you’re going to like it.

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