Nobody Told Me

Nobody told me you can’t use toilet paper
Nobody told me that you bleed
Nobody told me you might need a secret place
where you can scream.


After two years of waiting, I am totally stoked and nerve-wracked to announce that my new book – Nobody Told Me – is coming out in February 2016 with Little Brown of Blackfriars Books.

It’s a hefty 400 pages of all the diaries and poems and thoughts and feelings I wrote about becoming a parent. All the things I was unsure of, the things nobody told me and the things I didn’t want to talk about to anyone. They weren’t meant to be published, but after all the support I’ve had for poems like ‘Wow‘, ‘Embarrassed‘, ‘Breasts‘, I figured I should just go with this opportunity.

I’m sick of feeling ashamed about things to do with parenthood. About feeling guilty about being bored sometimes, despite the beauty and love of it, about loneliness, about not knowing how I feel about my body as a mum, about trying to be a worker and a parent and a partner, about issues around sex or relationships or feeding or just feeling guilty for everything I do and don’t do well! The more I talk to parents, the more it seems there are a lot of these undercurrents going on.

So this book is full of mine. I hope you enjoy reading it when it’s out. For now, here’s Embarrassed x






Mailing List sign up x

Roll up roll up, I think I’ve managed to set up an email list – only taken 5 years.

Sign up here:
Or here:

I won’t spam, just brief monthly updates, first dibs on tickets, downloads, a few poems praps and a few very secret things that only you will know.

But not really the last one.

ps. I don’t mind if you use a fake name x

There will be chairs…..

I don’t normally get that excited about poetry. But I am now. I’m really bloody excited about the tour.

These gigs are the only ones this year where I’m gonna be doing a full on, hour long, unadulterated (not sure what that means) night of poems. Plus an amazing support poet at each of the gigs.



Dates and links are below – any questions, ask in the comments.

And thanks for all your support xxx

15th April 2015 – Pleasance Theatre:

16th April 2015 – The Lemon Tree:

17th April 2015 – Old Town Hall:

22nd April 2015 – Dancehouse Theatre:

23rd April 2015 – The Glee Club:

24th April 2015 – Banking Hall:

25th April 2015 – Wenlock Poetry Festival:

28th April – Leicester Square Theatre:

5th May – Cambridge Junction:

6th May 2015 – The Glee Club:

7th May 2015 – The Lantern, Colston Hall:

14th May 2015 – McHugh’s Bar:

15th May 2015 – Roisin Dubh:

16th May 2015 – The Sugar Club:

17th May 2015 – Cypress Avenue:


Follow Hollie Poetry online:


A Poem about Bums

New Poem…

Bums bums bums. Am meant to be booking trains for tour and editing a new poetry collection but instead I’m thinking about bums. So thought I’d share. Not a well put together poem I know, it’s no Virginia Woolf, just a bit of a splat on the page I thought I’d post because, well, what else will I do with it than add it to another 200 unused poems sat in my notepads for years! So thanks for following, thanks for all your comments and advice, thanks for coming to gigs, thanks for supporting the next tour and thanks for having such lovely and useful bums holding your legs together so well x


People talking every day about
The topic of the year
Is it fun to shake about or just a thing for us to jeer at
Have I seen the videos?
Do I think that they’re ok?
People asking me about bums
Anaconda bums from Nikki Minaj
Kim Kardashian’s new photoshoot
Is it racist, is it class?
JLo’s and Iggy’s latest dance
Pretending to be lesbians
Female bums,
oiled and greased,
more striptease for MTV
Is J-Lo’s bum too old? we cry
Is Iggy’s bum too white?
But J-Lo’s 43 they say
As we slag her off all night
Then Meghan Trainer steps up and it’s all about the bass again
And the beats are so damn good and the lyrics stick inside your head
Conversations starts again
Fleshy bits are better
Her mum says men don’t like it thin
Questions, comments flooding in
Is it all about the bass, is it all about the bass?
Can Miley Cryus twerk
Has that girl got no damn taste?
Everyday I get the same discussions bouncing in my face
Is it female liberation to dance the way you want
Or is it corporate US making money selling women’s bodies
Is it wrong?
Is it positive for girls with bigger bums>
Is it just a bit of fun
Is it fair?
Isss itttt faiiiiirrr?
And truthfully my answer is I just don’t fucking care.
It’s a bum.
I have one.
My mum does too.
Sits on hers 60 hours a week
A nurses bum with aching cheeks
My mum has a flat bum, bonier than me
My daughter says her bum is the best bit of her body
Cos it’s soft
My gran has got a bum
It sits alone a lot
My friend has got a doctor’s bum that never ever stops
Before my granddad died he had a bum
Ghandi did as well
There’s a bum between the legs of the president of Brazil
That woman, running a massive fucking country over there
Most people’s bum have hair on
Though we don’t like to admit it
The first women into space covered her bum with a padded spacesuit
When Rosa parks sat on a bus her bum refused to move for bums more light
And she was taken with all the other bums who marched for civil rights
Happy people have bums
Depressed people do as well
If you do not wipe your bum, your bum will really smell
You use you bum to run
You also use your bum to sit
Having a slightly smaller bum does not make you a skinny bitch
Having a slightly larger bum does not make you a big booty ho
Last weekend 40,000 bums sat on seats waiting for a goal from the England Women’s football team who used their butt muscles to kick and pass
The Williams sisters use their bums to move from side to side very fast
So when you ask me what I think of female bums, I like them, I think they’re great
I wish there were more of them in parliament, businesses and sports games
And men’s bums too, in case you wonder, I like them just the same
Like a personal piece of fat for everyone to sit on when you’re drained
Saves you carrying a cushion or a pillow in your bag
And if your bum is fit and healthy
It’s the best you’ll ever have


Supports Acts info for Verses Tour x

This month, I’ll be in 7 cities: Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham, Brighton, London, Bath and Manchester.

I’ve picked my favourite artists in each place to come support and they’ve said yes.I’m stoked.

If you wanna come, are coming or have just seen a show and want to find out more about them, check below…


Leeds // Friday 3rd October // Leeds College of Music

Support Artists:
Leeds Young Authors – Jamal Gerald, Rheima Robinson and Saju Ahmed

Jamal Gerald

I first heard of the Leeds Young Authors when I saw their brilliant film: We Are Poets. You should check it out. Then come and see 3 of their poets live in Leeds.

Who They Are:
Leeds Young Authors (LYA) was founded in 2003 by Khadijah Ibrahiim, performance poet and playwright, as an approach to creative education to promote positive social dialogue through the written and spoken word among young people of High School age (ages 13-19), primarily in the City of Leeds.

Leeds Young Authors has created spaces in a socially and economically disadvantaged area to celebrate youth voices, and to develop the young people’s social skills and emotional literacy so they will have the ability to function effectively in different spheres. The project also offers young people at risk (including former youth offenders) an opportunity to engage in a project within the community in a positive way and to escape the lure of criminality, the cycle of poverty and social depravation.

Read about them in the Guardian here or on their site here.

Glasgow // Saturday 4th October // Oran Mor

Support Artists:
Michael Pederson


Michael Pedersen is a poet, playwright and animateur with an electric reputation; he’s collaborated with artists, musicians and film-makers; has two successful chapbooks and a full collection (Polygon) under his belt; writes lyrics for bands; and co-runs / co-founded the Neu! Reekie! arts collective and record label. See: & @ScribePedersen

If you like poetry that is cool, smart, hilarious and quirky and can just suddenly rip your heart out, Michael Pedersen is your man

Irvine Welsh

Michael’s poems are so physical you can almost touch the images in them. Fabulously sensual and alive. I adore poetry like this

Stephen Fry
Twitter: @NeuReekie

And this is the amazing building the gig will be in!

Oran More (credit Trip Advisor)

Birmingham // Thursday 9th October // The Rainbow Warehouse

Support Artists:

Jordanne Cameron,
Aysha Begum (Miss Adventure):
Joe Cook
Unhindered Reign (Sipho Eric Dube and Luci Hammans)


I was asked to do a gig for Beatfreeks last year. They run a monthly spoken word night for young people in Birmingham. Each month they have a headline professional poet and then finish with a headline young local poet. I was totally and utterly bowled away by the poems I heard and thought of them immediately for the Birmingham gig of this tour.

Who They Are:
Beatfreeks is an arts based social enterprise supporting young, creative people to do what they love. They are running a competition, from which four young poets will be chosen to support me at this gig. Their poets are brilliant and I can’t wait to see them.


Jordanne Cameron:

Jordanne Renee is an 18 year old poet from Birmingham, she started writing poetry as a form of escapism and somewhere along the line fell in love with words. She believes that words have the power to inform,educate,inspire and motivate and hopes to articulate that through her work.

Joe Cook

Joe Cook A.K.A Cookie, is a poet, musician, workshop facilitator and political activist from Birmingham. Heavily influenced by Hip-Hop and Reggae his musical background shows in his lyrical poetry. Described as “The Streets meets Joe Strummer” , his voice is raw, full of passion and heavy beats. He’s performed all around Birmingham at prolific venues such as The Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Mac Birmingham, as well as performing in London with the Burn After Reading Poetry Collective.


Brighton // Friday 10th October // The Old Market

Support Artist:
Rosy Carrick:


Rosy Carrick

I met Rosy Carrick a few years ago and was smacked in the fact by her honesty and her skill of language. She is not only one of my favourite poets but one of the bests hosts I’ve ever seen – go see her at Hammer and Tongue every month in Brighton, or, ofcourse, on this tour!

Who She Is:
Surreal, sensual and decidedly left-field, Rosy Carrick’s eccentric style, dense rhyme structures and forceful imagery have won her international acclaim, as well as firmly cementing her place as one of the UK’s most unusual and exciting contemporary performance poets.

Host of Brighton Hammer and Tongue, one of the UK’s largest spoken word & slam events, she also co-manages and comperes cult movie-themed club extravaganza Trailer Trash!, and performs her poetry at events and festivals around the country.

In addition to the facilitation of adult writing workshops, Rosy is a UK approved youth slam coach, and works to talent-spot and mentor representatives from the South East for inclusion in the annual UK Schools Slam Poetry Championships.


Bath // Thursday 16th October // Komedia

Support Artist:
Vanessa Kisuule:

Watch Vanessa:

Buy Vanessa’s Book:

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule asked me to do a gig on a boat in Bristol last year and instead of using her time as a host to read her own poetry, she chose to share poems from her favourite other artists. It was so damn nice. but I was gutted, because I am completely in love with her poems. She is what I call a proper poet! A really good proper poet x

Who She Is:

Vanessa Kisuule comes under many guises: zealous and over-idealistic student, weary but always well-meaning café-barista, and ardent, inadvertent and lovestruck performance poet.

She has won several slam titles including Farrago Schools Out Slam Champotion 2010, Bang Said The Gun Award, Poetry Rivals 2011, Next
Generation Slam 2012, Slambassadors 2010 and South West Hammer and Tongue Slam Champion 2012.

She has performed at an array of festivals, including Glastonbury, Lounge on the Farm, Secret Garden Party, Wise Words, Wilderness and Shambala Festival and renowned poetry events such as Blahblahblah at the Bristol Old Vic, Chill Pill in London, Hit the Odein Birmingham and Shake the Dust in Plymouth.

The likes of Linton Kwesi Johnson, Kate Tempest, Dizraeli and David J have invited her to support them, and her poetry has featured in Burning Eyes Rhyming Thunder anthology of Young Poets.


Manchester // Friday 17th October // Gorilla


Support Artist:
Keisha Thompson: Twitter/com/Keke_Thom

Watch Keisha:

Buy her album:

Keisha Thompson

I saw Keisha perform at Glastonbury 2013 and she was the most understated and brilliant poet I’ve heard in ages. I did a gig with her last month again and she was just as super. She doesn’t shout, she doesn’t scream, but her words stick with me like glue.

Who She Is:

Keisha Thompson is a performance and page poet. She has been published in various anthologies and is a core member of Manchester’s youth writing groups: Young Identity and Inna Voice. She is currently working on solo show, I Wish I had a Moustache with support from Contact Theatre. She also released her first EP, Abecedarian on Sept 24th (


London // Saturday 18th October // Islington Assembly Hall

Deanna Rodger:

Watch Deanna

Deanna Rodger has made a name for herself by winning the UK Slam Poetry competition, touring Germany and performing commissions in places such as, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing street and 2012 Olympic Team Welcome Ceremony. She acts, facilitates workshops and produces events.


And that’s it! Tickets here:


New Poetry Set: Preview at Bush Theatre, London

A British Tea Break, new collection previewed at Bush Theatre, London

I’ll be performing a Sneak Peek from a new set of poetry entitled A British Tea Break at 9pm on the 15th November at the Bush Theatre, London. Ticket includes two other brilliant brilliant shows. It would be great if you were there.

More details below:

This November, the Bush explores the future of new writing with a three week festival. RADAR 2012 sees performances from some of the UK’s most exciting artists, reveals sneak peeks of work in progress, and presents a series of provocative talks led by theatre makers from across the industry.

RADAR 2012 Sneak Peek: A British Tea Break

British Tea Party by Hollie McNish and Round’Ere by Kat Pearce

Bush Bounce artists Hollie and Kat return to the Bush to perform their pieces as part of RADAR 2012
British Tea Party: In A British Tea Break, you are invited to journey through the ingredients of a traditional afternoon tea whilst experiencing an intimate spoken word show which explores themes of Britishness, immigration, women and workers rights
Round’Ere: A screwed up crackwhore cabaret act turns emotional exploration of north-western girl-ness, slap bang in the middle of a binge-living culture plagues with the politics of ‘Cameron’s Coalition’

DATES AND DETAILS. This Sneak Peek is performed alongside The Looking Screen by Anna Chmelewsky on Thursday 15 Nov, 7.30pm. Tickets £12 (£10 concessions).BOOK NOW

Workshops and Poetry Slam with British Council, Latvia

Latvia Trip. All Images © British Council, Latvia

I recently went to Latvia with the British Council to take part in the White Night festival. This involved leading workshops on spoken word, lectures and gigs. It was brilliant. I went with Pete the Temp.

Here are some photos:

Here is a video about it all: