Waterloo Press

Bernadette Cremin

Bernadette Cremin was born in March 1964 and started writing when she was about 14. She bimbled happily through school until walking out one May afternoon in 1981 for reasons that still escape her! She then fell in and out of growing up until she got her act together and returned to full time education in 1985 where she dutifully collected a medley of badges and bows and all that follows! For a while she did a stint creating products like the smashgoods shower drain hair catcher. She has never owned a pet or pair of six inch heels and has lived with the curious companion of epilepsy and neurological illness since her teens. Cremin has dipped her toe in many pies but it’s more than fair to say that poetry has been kind to her since she moved to Brighton for a year in 1996 where she continues to stay for her sins! Her favourite childhood memory is being driven to church for her first holy communion in a white jag that her uncle Tony acquired for the day…bless him!

Miming Silence is her third poetry collection, and second to come out from Waterloo Press, following the success of Speechless (2007), a poem from which, ‘Nadia’, was Highly Commended in the 2009 Forward Poetry Prize. Cremin has recently been on a reading tour of Ireland and continues to perform and record her poetry regularly. Bernadette Cremin is currently a freelance writer.


Miming Silence (2009)

ISBN 978-1-906742-14-0

The poetry of Bernadette Cremin etches itself into the mind as distinctively as the fricatives of her name. One of Cremin’s great strengths as a poet is her gregariousness, shedding light to ‘whisper a rumour around the room’ (‘Scribbling in the Margin’) in the lock-ins of days where ‘the weather is missing’ (‘Once a Month’), and someone ‘sips black bitterness’ (‘The Reason for Thursdays’). In Cremin’s urban picaresque nothing is spared its posterity and everything is up for grabs on the page: a lunching office worker is detected ‘leaving a graze of insistent aftershave/on his way to the deli on St James Street’ (‘The Reason for Thursdays’).

These poems are pebbled with a verbal play that echoes the urban itineraries of the late Ian Dury. Minutiae of the living – and the dead – are vividly documented: from ‘Aunt Teresa’s/ back-combed laughter, her titian rinse/and creased cleavage’ (Uncle Tom’s Wake’) to ‘a Ladbroke docket for the three thirty at Haydock’ found among a deceased’s effects (‘Déjà Vu’). We figuratively ‘snatch a fag between smiles’ (‘Snapshot’) at ‘The Lavender Rinses/ and Walking sticks’ (‘Men at Work’). Cremin also sofa-surfs on the seamier side: a Goth girl has ‘punished herself like a thin dog’ (‘Growing Pains’), while a specialist’s gesticulations ‘hack mid-air/ attacking language’ (‘Dr. Sanjez’s Hands’). Her voice carves its own niche in cliffs of bitten witness to an ‘incessant beach’ (‘Carney’). Cremin’s Brighton is a seaside cheapside of bedsit ambitions, which, in its sheer gusto, will stand the test of time and tide. 

A deft way with metaphor and allusion that belies the heft of meaning beneath the illuminating imagery. Cremin touches on the terrors of being young, madness, bereavement squeezing into one poem the crispness and subtlety that others achieve in an entire collection.
Sara-Mae Tuscon, The London Magazine/Trespass

In this engaging collection Cremin rekindles memories of teenage parties and erotic longing coupled with the harsh realities that follow. The language used is refreshingly direct and uncluttered. This is poetry that stares you in the eye. Brilliant.
Les Robinson, Tall Lighthouse

In Miming Silence Cremin provides another tour de force! An incredible mix of dark and light social comment and intimate contemplation.
Brian Lister, Biscuit Publishing

Cremin delves deep into the hinterlands of working class tumult painting pictures which for the reader are akin to finding silver down the back of the sofa!
Jan Goodey, Freelance Journalist

Cremin’s poetry chews you up. She has an amazing ability to transfer poems onto the page where they muscle into your mind with visceral physicality and rare style. These poems snap your neck round from the dreamily conventional. They’re a wake up call that’s irresistible.
John Davies aka Shedman, pighog press

Speechless (2007)

ISBN 1-902731-35-2

Bernadette Cremin's seminal collection explores such contrasting scenarios as discos and hospitals, scored through with tangible imagery and lacerating candour. Winner of a 2000 Arts Council of England Bursary, she was further selected to work with Roddy Lumsden, and formerly the late Michael Donahy, on this striking collection.

This collection follows hot on the heels of her prize-winning debut volume Perfect Mess (Biscuit Publishing, 2006).

Bernadette Cremin's book cover 'Speechless'

Cremin has gone on to win a Year of the Artist award, an Arts Council performance poetry bursary, and has been published widely in the UK and Eire. As well as solo commissions, she has collaborated with a music producer (State Art), a film-maker (Indifference Productions), a photographer (Project Poetry) and a geneticist (Promise or Threat, ACE).

Cremin’s world is a blanched bohemia of scatter-cushioned experiences, liaisons, vicissitudes, serendipities and epiphanies. A reality heaving with animism, where the inanimate is as intimate a part as a lover’s lips or a racing pulse. Where the wallpaper has ears and ‘creases gossip’; where every object has a muttering life of its own. Enter this realm where ‘mirrors glare’, ‘shrubs gang up like playground bullies’, and trees resemble ‘skinny dinner ladies’; of ‘terrified white’ toilets and wall-crawling shadows; and you’ll probably never get out again. But really, even if you could, would you want to?

Cremin’s poems are the reminder we need of forgotten people, desperate lives and sickness that doesn’t grab headlines. Undaunted, bloody minded, she hands them to us with more twists and turns than a roller coaster. They’re uncomfortable reading but Cremin makes us shudder with immense skill and utter control. She’s an important voice
Jackie Wills

Speechless reads like a series of nightmarish postcards from prisons of illness, passion and of self – or flashes of broken down stations caught through the fumy window of a run away train
Mario Petrucci

…weird and wonderful; Cremin dares to write honestly. Where does she get these images? Her similes are inspired
Michael Donaghy

Cremin writes of call girls and ham actors, moody photos and bed-sit divas. In lines both precise and honest, she croons of violence and loss. Hers is the smoky voice of an underclass, forever tough, feminine and vulnerable.
John O’Donoghue

Cremin has built a magic bridge between performance and the page; she has proven palpably and infectiously, how there needn’t be such a divide in the first place. Speechless is quite aptly titled, for that’s exactly how it leaves one: it proves that Cremin’s poetry is as tangible and affecting on the page as it is when uttered from her lips like subtle spells
Alan Morrison

To read extracts please click here

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