My mother the seal

Poems of displacement, interactions in a variety of social landscapes, in temporary homes that offer respite and change, and that find solace in the natural world.

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November 2023







My mother the seal

Liz Trew writes poems of displacement, set in a range of social landscapes, and in temporary homes that offer respite and change, and that find solace in the natural world.

“My exiled days return to you,
nudge my certain landing
rush towards your open cosmos eye
through gold-reef doorways city deep”.
(from Homecoming)

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Elizabeth Trew

Elizabeth Trew was born and grew up in Cape Town. She left South Africa and returned in 1991 after 27 years in exile in England. A former librarian and teacher in Oxford, Norwich and London, as well as in Johannesburg, she has a BA Hons in English literature and linguistics from the University of East Anglia, and an MA in English Education from the University of Witwatersrand. Her poems have appeared in various poetry journals and anthologies in the UK and South Africa; have been short-listed for the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry award, and a selection published in ISISx and Prodigal Daughters: stories of South African women in exile, edited by Lauretta Ngcobo. She is a language editor and volunteers at a shelter for girls in Cape Town.


Elizabeth Trew's author page

“With extraordinary lyricism, tenderness and an unfailing eye for gorgeous imagery,
My mother the seal uncovers deep layers of history and humanity.” Finuala Dowling

“The world is richer for having Liz Trew’s sparse, yet translucent poems published as a collection at last. Her work is simple yet powerful, tender and haunting. She sings with a pure clear sonority through the different registers of protest, lament and deep yearning for home, for bliss. Her wry humour delights and honours her ancestors.” Liesl Jobson

“Lyrical, sensuous and evocative, fashioned with precision and care, the poems in My mother the seal are frequently startling in their imagery: they are shot through with, and illuminated by, a painter’s sensibility. They are imbued with a deep awareness of the presence of the earth and of suffering. Together, they form an indelible record of lives, histories, stories and selves. A collection to savour and revisit.” Eduard Burle


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