About

For all enquiries or bookings, contact: Oli@pagetoperformance.org

Books:

Plum: http://bit.ly/2jT6KPP
Nobody Told Me: http://fal.cn/Kbvi
CherryPie: http://bit.ly/1x1PuvU

Audio:
Versus: https://holliemcnish.bandcamp.com/merch/versus-double-cd-signed-by-the-poet
V
ersus Orchestra: https://www.mo.nl/en/2016/10/new-release-poetry-versus-orchestra

 

Nobody Told Me

“The world needs this book…so does every parent”: Scotsman

Versus_BackCover

Available on iTunes here: http://po.st/HPDownload and Amazon here: http://po.st/HPAmazon.

© Yup! Records

THE BOOK

Available now from Burning Eye Books

The Book

The Book

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338 thoughts on “About

  1. Just about 2 hours ago I stumbled upon your breastfeeding video on a feminist blog, little did I know that about 3 minutes later I would be utterly moved and beginning an obsession. 2 hours later I’ve scoured your youtube channel and bandcamp, listening to every morsel of the amazing poetry. You speak with such passion and eloquence and the poetry is sheer brilliance. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world.

  2. I just loved your poem about breastfeeding in public! My son is now 20 and we lived in Hong Kong. I attempted to breast feed — and work in an office! First time, I went to a small meeting room for some privacy. Feeling guilty about “slacking off”, I made sales calls whilst expressing. The boss found my talking distracting as he was in the next room and he told my manager to ask me to use the board room — a very cold, sterile room (he couldn’t ask me himself). I did that once. Left in tears. Couldn’t handle that and was “forced” to change to formula (I was much more successful with my second — and not working). On the other side, I took great delight breast feeding in “male bastions” — with all my male friends around me — like the bar in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, daring with looks for anyone to challenge me! Thank you for expressing (haha) all the things I was thinking!

  3. Dear Hollie,

    I have just watched your video Embarrassed and I don’t know where to start. I live in Germany where it is quite okay to breastfeed in public (or so I thought until my mum pointed out that maybe I was misjudging the situation a bit…). However, it moved me to tears to hear that this is not the case in other European countries and that it is so very much scandalised in the UK. Because it is exactly as you point out in your video measuring with double-standards and totally insane. It is hard to believe that breastfeeding women would be asked to leave a pub or a bus for the simple fact that she is caring for her baby – really unbelievable. And, of course, there is also the issue of trying to convince every woman that powdered milk is better because it is better controlled not to mention what that means to women in countries where it is simply not safe to use powdered milk. Yes, but then, you know all this already and managed to put it together in one really moving piece.
    I find it very inspiring that you use poetry as your vehicle for criticising cultural and policitical situations as I have found that in Germany many young poets have nothing much to say really.
    Please do not stop to make your voice heard in this world as there is so much left to do to make it a better place. (Oh, and in case you ever need a German translation ;-))

    All the best
    Judith

    • Hey Judith, thanks so much. I hope you find some more poetry there too as I know the spoken word scene is massive and so well organised! There is a poet called Julian Heun who seems pretty good! A German translator would be top!! x

      • hollie you a great poet but your poem on imagration is not all right i work for a massive contruction servive in 2009 in the york area we had aq massive influx of polish at this time and all the labourers got laid off i went back a week later all our jobs were filled by polish yorking for lss money i have witnessed hundreds of people loose jobs cos imagrants will work for less. take a local meet factory employed 20 butchers 4 years ago these men had families wives children they worked standared hours for standard pay now they employ 10 unskilled butchers working sixteen hour shifts for basic wage and gues what there all foriegn equality ia all we want there are more born and bread british outof work than imagrants this is wrong we are an iland we should look after the irlanders not the world charity starts at home

  4. Wow, I just seen your breast feeding poem off of Facebook, and I have to say very well done, I hope it goes viral if its hasn’t already, I live on the west coast of Canada so it’s made it out here.

  5. Hi Hollie,

    I have listened to your poetry on youtube and am about to buy it on itunes. All I needed to hear was one poem to be greatly inspired, not only as a poet, but as a person who cares about the world we live in. Kids and adults should be encouraged to express their creativity in school by writing in any way that comes naturally to them. Though poetry from all the ages is beautiful, some are turned off by the complexity and lack of cultural relevance it has in their lives. I hope teachers and parents stumble upon poets who speak from their experience, their lexicon and time, like you do.

    Thanks for inspiring me!

  6. Hi Hollie….I just saw your video poem regarding breastfeeding in public.
    I am a proponent for sure….having lived in many countries, it is so common….North Americans are a little uptight…..hang in there!!!!!

  7. Hello Hollie. Your video about breastfeeding in public is absolute genius. Gave me chills and tears. Thank you for sharing!! Amazing. 🙂

  8. Your spoken word Embarrassed made me cry. I haven’t read poetry, don’t normally get emotional. But your words echoed how I felt feeding my son. I switched to powder. I won’t do the same with my next. I wish everyone would listen.

  9. This is what I posted on the MSN site after reading the article and hearing your poem, I loved the poem!

    I am a man, who grew up in a house full of women and now as a man I have a house full of women. I think the problem lays in the fact most humans have been so civilized they don’t understand what our body parts are really for, what function do they perform. If they are used for anything other than what has become the standard use (recreational sex) these folks are shocked, they will have sex, watch a pornographic movie but they can’t stand seeing a women’s breast doing what it is designed to do!

  10. I saw ‘Embarressed (breastfeeding in public)’ and have to say I love it! I came across it by chance on facebook and then shared with all the other bfing mummies! Breastfeeding seems to be the forbidden topic so well done you!!

  11. Hollie- Thank you. Was sent a link to “embarrassed” today. Brilliant work, luv. From one poet to another, one nursing mother to another….your work is powerful and beautiful, necessary, spot on in rhythm and in message. Magnificent all around, and…you made me cry. Good on you!

  12. Have just watched your amazing poem about breastfeeding that you penned in the toilet. Am blown away! My daughter’s 18 now and I supported her Mum in long-term feeding until she was more than six years old. I totally get where you’re coming from vizaviz the paradox of breasts versus formula. Nice one for upping the anti and being true and authentic to you and your baby. I hope you get more coverage and great to see someone putting it out there as the breastfeeding rates are falling dramatically. And in the US, 11% of women get up to only 6 months, which is worrying. Just wanted to say power to your elbow!

  13. Hey Holly! I just wanted to say that I looked you up on Rhapsody in hopes that you had some spoken word on there. I found ‘Wow’ and was totally blown away. I’ve hit the replay button at least 20 times in the past day alone. Please consider putting more on there! =)

  14. Thank you! When you speak, it feels real, it feels TRUE. I feel you know how I feel, know the reality of the UK. Knows what it’s like to be married to an immigrant, what challenges that has bought to us. For me, true artists make the audience feel understood and connected to them. Your poems do this effortlessly and sublimely! So wonderful reviewed you on my blog too.

  15. BAM….you nailed it. I love all your poems so far that I have listened too. Your Breastfeeding one brought it home! I get chills listening to it! Thanks so much.

  16. You’re absolutely amazing. I know spoken word isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but you’ve inspired me beyond words. I hope someday, I’d get the chance to share my thoughts as bravely as you have.
    Keep on making our lives better.

  17. Hi Holly,
    Your “Embarrassed” video has made it to Fremantle, Western Australia – a friend of mine shared it on Facebook and I have shared it onwards and am going to recommend it to my classmates at Uni tomorrow (studying Public Health and Health promotion)
    I am just starting to listen/watch your other clips and they are beautiful, inspiring, raw, and true.
    Thank you 🙂

  18. Hollie McNish, you’re my new favourite poet! Love your work. Have just been getting into writing again and wrote a bit of a promo/review of your poetry on my blog.

  19. The immigrant rap tells and proves nothing, don’t even try to justify such a mess, makes me wonder what you have to gain from such stupidity….

    • It is not meant to prove anything, it is meant to open the debate more and allow us to see the problems in the one for one argument between immigration and native employment. An argument which is highly flawed and dangerous to believe. It takes no account of those who create jobs, of student immigrants who create jobs and massively help our economy, or of the fact that if you take away the lower paid foreign labour also, many UK companies would simply up and outsource overseas, which is much more threatening to our economy. We are given one sided views in headlines with no explanation, just scare and hate mongering. I have nothing to gain from writing a poem about immigration. People who scapegoat immigrants do. They can feel relief at being able to point the finger or distract people from the actual issues.

      • I work in construction and have to say that we would get nothing built if it were not for immigrant labour coming here and doing the jobs that we are frankly too arrogant to do, too lazy to learn and too overconfident to keep any skills we have refreshed. I used to be a Building Inspector for the council and there were so many spurious complaints that used to come in about immigrant builders from neighbours. “They won’t know about British Regulations,” they would say. “Many British builders don’t know about British regulations,” I’d reply. Shame but true.

    • AMID – It’s not a rap, it’s poetry, damned good poetry!! Not your schtick? Not your feelings, not to your liking? Fine!! No one’s twisting your arm to listen to it. Those of us who do enjoy it, love Hollie and agree with the messages in HER poetry and CHOOSE to subscribe – should not have to be subjected to your unsolicitied and juvenile critique. Move on … and/or grow up or … just shut-up. Your green-ness is showing. Love Ya Hollie, from New York

    • AMID – WHY are you here?! Are you a paid troll for right wingnut paranoid intrusionists? Or do you have nothing better to do with your time but look for, subscribe to and listen to poetry you don’t like? Or wish you were talented enough to write? Go pollute someone else’s sandbox with your baseless ignorant childish remarks. No one wants you here. Hollie could eat you for breakfast but for the fact that she has far too much class and grace to waste her time, so I’ll waste mine on her behalf.

    • Amid, if by ‘mess’ you mean the political mess the main UK political parties have twisted themselves into each trying to one-up each other on who is the most macho anti-migrant party, then we can maybe agree on something. However I suspect you are symptomatic of a process in which balanced discussions about the whole range of benefits and costs migration brings has lost out to plain and simple fear of the other. Perhaps this will not appeal to you, but for those who are willing to hear both sides of the argument, this devastating and detailed review by Jonathan Portes of David Goodhart’s “The British Dream” (which is considered the best book presenting a critique of immigration) and subsequent letters between reviewer and author gets to the heart of this debate:

      http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n12/jonathan-portes/an-exercise-in-scapegoating

      Neither economic nor cutural arguments against immigration to the UK really stand up at all. We do have lots of fear mongering, as Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the press:

      “when assessed as a whole, the evidence of discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and/or asylum seekers, is concerning.”

      And is clearly shown by research on terms used in the popular press from the Migration Observatory at Oxford University this year:

      http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/press-releases/migrants-newspapers-influx-illegal-failed-economic-terrorists

      So, we return. The mess is the one where the British Press lie and distort and confuse and withold so that you and people like you think immigration to the UK is indefensible.

      Holly’s poetry still stands proud, among the mess devised by politics and press!

    • Amid, ain’t you the big boss? Sat behind your computer chatting s**t and lampooning someone else’s work, go on clap for yourself, your rant on here must have made you feel real special? You are a moron for insulting Hollie and her work. You don’t have to share other people’s feeling or opinions, but you also don’t have a right to insult them for their choices and belief. Hollie i say well done. This Immigration’ video of yours is the only one among your works that i have seen, (i came upon it by accident on fb) i will definitely be searching out your other ones. I wish you all the best of luck.

    • I have written poetry, no-one is ‘following me’. I’m not a political party, I’m a poet. If people can relate to the poems, it’s because they already think in similar ways. They are not weak!

    • Billy, you are the weak and spineless one for coming onto this thread to chat your rubbish. Whatever Hollie said in this video is her ‘personal opinion’ get it? HER PERSONAL OPINION. You don’t have to share it or believe in it but Hollie definitely has a right to them. Don’t you have other topics and discussions to haunt? Now be on your way and go find some other article to haunt.

    • Enjoying and relating to well-done poetry is not “following”. Relating to and/or liking a subject matter in said poetry is not weak; expressing one’s opinion through poetry, essays, book writing and the like is actually quite brave. And who follows you Billy?

  20. Amid, if by ‘mess’ you mean the political mess the main UK political parties have twisted themselves into each trying to one-up each other on who is the most macho anti-migrant party, then we can maybe agree on something. However I suspect you are symptomatic of a process in which balanced discussions about the whole range of benefits and costs migration brings has lost out to plain and simple fear of the other. Perhaps this will not appeal to you, but for those who are willing to hear both sides of the argument, this devastating and detailed review by Jonathan Portes of David Goodhart’s “The British Dream” (which is considered the best book presenting a critique of immigration) and subsequent letters between reviewer and author gets to the heart of this debate:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n12/jonathan-portes/an-exercise-in-scapegoating

    Neither economic nor cutural arguments against immigration to the UK really stand up at all. We do have lots of fear mongering, as Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the press:

    “when assessed as a whole, the evidence of discriminatory, sensational or unbalanced reporting in relation to ethnic minorities, immigrants and/or asylum seekers, is concerning.”

    And is clearly shown by research on terms used in the popular press from the Migration Observatory at Oxford University this year:

    http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/press-releases/migrants-newspapers-influx-illegal-failed-economic-terrorists

    So, we return. The mess is the one where the British Press lie and distort and confuse and withold so that you and people like you think immigration to the UK is indefensible.

    Holly’s poetry still stands proud, among the mess devised by politics and press!

  21. Your poem on the subject of breastfeeding is so socially worthy. Here in the US we have reality TV shows like Teen Moms and the media bash women like Kim Kardashian & other celebrities weight gain while pregnant, while Playboy mag & others sit on grocery store shelves everywhere, really need the message you so artfully put in that poem. I nursed all my children at a time when maternity-wear did not include little nursing flaps. Hell, There weren’t even nursing bras & the maternity hospital staff treated me like I was uncivilized. They even took my first two babies, against me request, and fed them formula from bottles. My own mother-in-law got her nose out of joint when I nursed her granddaughter in front of her. After she suggested I go ‘do that in the ladies room’ at a family baby shower full of female friends & relatives, I told her I would…if she would take her plate of food into the loo and eat it there as well. Hah … we were never close after that, or before. Bravo sweetheart. This gramma in New York just loves all your work. You make a mama proud!!

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  23. Hey Hollie!

    Stumbled upon two of your poems now (Embarrassed and the one about maths immigration). I just wanted to say thank you!

    I had no idea that best feeding in public was such a big problem, as I am not a mother yet. I would like to believe that I wouldn’t care, but I guess you don’t know until you’re there. I hope for everyone one person that makes a bad comment, or makes you feel embarrassed, there are plenty or others who are glad of you doing it (or don’t even notice when you do, because that is the way to should be.) I was recently in Iceland at a wedding and someone started breast-feeding at the front of the church, and no one gave a toss – Iceland has a long standing history of Women’s rights though.

    Hope I can see you live in performance one day. Thanks for all your work, you speak a lot of sense and wisdom.

    Becka

  24. Im a mum of 3 and have breast fed the lot. After a couple of months doing the same sitting in loos feeding my first i thought…. forget this!! the posters say breast is best go on say something while i sit in the cafe or on a park bench providing my child with the best it can get! i have proudly since fed all my children where we feel comfy and warm and currently have one that i am still feeding where we are happy. this poem is great getting the message across seen it on a mummy group on facebook and hope it goes all over the uk and the world to say we are mums and we are proud to breastfeed.

  25. Hello, Ms. McNish, I just saw your breastfeeding poem (on a link from FaceBook). You are a genius and so eloquent and elegant in your tone and points. Brava.

  26. Dear Hollie, I’ve just seen your poem Embarrassed and it’s moved me to tears. I defiantly breastfed my daughter in public from the first time I left the house. My anger at having to stare down the ignorants knew no bounds. I was on a packed commuter train coming home from London and I needed to feed my darling girl. An older chap kept staring and looked rather cross/offended, other people practically broke their necks trying to look away so I said very loudly “I can either feed my baby, or let her scream the entire way home – what’s it to be?” No one had the balls to reply so I fed my daughter. Nobody could see anything! There are so many of these incidents (and my defiant response to them) that I could go on ever about it. The sad thing is that I stopped breast feeding 6 years ago and I’m still angry! I think what makes me so sad is that doing one of the most natural things is so vilified.

    I’m going to have a look at some of your other poetry now!

    Best wishes
    Daisy

  27. My babes were born in the Netherlands where it is perfectly acceptable to breastfeed in ‘public’ places. As you so eloquently and movingly state, feeding ones child naturally is so natural and subtle and gentle. Like so many others I am made still by your power with the word. Speak and we will listen, forming our own words we too can find a voice.

  28. I hope a compliment from a bloke is allowed on this site! I would just like to say how much I enjoyed listening to you at the Filmhouse tonight. I will make every effort to listen to more of your work and tell anyone who is interested to do the same.

  29. Just watched your wonderful breastfeeding poem – Thank you. My wife breastfeed our daughter for 5 years. She endured many comments and looks from all sides. Hardest of all was her own battle to continue doing what she knew was right, what she knew our daughter needed, but was causing her pain and draining her energy. I will share this with her by way of thanks and she will share it with all those i similar positions. You have our support.

  30. Hello Hollie, I found both of your books on Amazon but I am looking for your Cupcakes or Scones poem. I was wondering which book contains this poem, because I unfortunately cannot see the the table of contents on the website. I absolutly love your stuff

      • Hollie, Do you know when it will come out or if we can just buy the poem? I would love to perform it for our speech team in the poetry category, my coach and I think it is perfect! I personally am very moved by your videos on youtube, I not only agree with them but they expand my thought process on many things. I only wish I could see you live! Thank you so much!

  31. Hi Hollie. i’ve loved your work for a while now. I find you really inspiring. I’m an old school house DJ and simple Luton boy 🙂 I have written a track for one of your poems and would love you to hear it. It’s a jazz fusion piece, deep and emotional for me! I’m not trying to make money nor capitalise for sure! Music is as much mathematical as it is lyrical and spiritual for people i feel. as are the deep words you speak. How would i get this to you? (without red tape) 😉
    peace and best of luck for the album. you deserve much success. you speak from the heart, this we can feel from you r poetry.

  32. I just watched your “Embarrassed” video, and you put into words exactly how I felt when I was nursing my son. You nailed it. Thank you for being a catalyst for change. ❤

  33. I saw your poem about breast feeding.

    I spent the first five years at home with my kids, my wife, (terribly and sadly we are divorced, my fault), breastfed, and we battled with people making remarks, and she told me not to fuss, let them go, but it was wrong.

    It was wrong when I had no-where to feed my boys when she went back to work too, couldn’t be somewhere, Mothercare; wrong when I was was barred from the ladies because that the was the only place to change them, if I wasn’t to do it on the floor.

    You made me cry, cry for my friends now who are having babies and feeding them and still battling this battle that I stood up for 20 years ago, that I as a man, (shame that I am for I can never know what is it to feel the kick of a baby under my heart, to have them draw from me their sustenance and comfort), cry for the corruption which I know I am subject to, because Goddess only knows I love women and their eyes and their smiles and their beauty, so I am corrupted.

    You are right and society is wrong and I don’t want to be corrupt and I see that my friends breastfeeding is the most natural and wonderful thing, and it should be, it should be as natural as breathing and no more remarkable.

    I came across your video here, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/05/hollie-mcnish-breastfeeding_n_3552062.html, and my friends on facebook posted it.

  34. Just simply, thank you. I’d heard you before I think it was woman’s hour, then a friend posted embarrased on FB, what an elequent and brillian critque. More power to you.

  35. Thank you for your inspiring words on issues that need to discussed openly. You speak so much pure truth and it’s refreshing to hear your views expressed so honestly and beautifully.

  36. Love your poem Embarassed. Just saw it today. I wanted to breastfeed my baby girl so badly. But, she was a little preemie and the hospital just fed her formula via a naso-gastric tube b/c she was too small to feed. I had health problems too from the pregnancy. BUt, the urge and desire was SOOO strong to breastfeed that I started pumping to see if I could get it going for when my baby was ready. And, when she was a few weeks old her instincts started kicking in and at still less than 3 lbs. my baby girl would lift her head and slide her body so that she could put her mouth on my nipple! (during highly recommended “Kangaroo Care”. ) This is what mother nature intended and I don’t think people who haven’t been through it get the STRONG urges between mother and baby. It is like pheromone intoxication. And, it is beautiful. You are so right about the strange dichotomy of accepting toplessness in Page 3 girls, billboards, and also at all the beaches — TV broadcasts of topless dart throwing from Bournemouth beach. Yet, a tiny flash of flesh offends when it comes to breastfeeding.

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