Melanie Rees is a poet, author and playwright whose play Drowning Aristotle won the City Life Best of Manchester play award. She co-founded the Pavilion Theatre Company and was Drama Co-ordinator for the Salford Young Person's University. Born and bred in Salford, her work has recently been anthologised in Salford Stories [Bridge House], a collection honouring Shelagh Delaney. An Associate Lecturer at the University of Salford, trained counsellor and award-winning SEN teacher, she has taught and lived in Australia, India, Israel, Poland and the USA.
Sarah Miller is a poet, playwright and theatre deviser with over thirty plays produced and whose poetry can be found carved on stone at Channelside Haven, Barrow-in-Furness. She has facilitated workshops from South Cumbria to West Africa and worked as a theatre director, writer-in-residence and dramaturg, collaborating with communities, visual artists, dance companies and sonic improvisers. Sarah is featured in digital composers Hugs Bison's film Besides and, with pre-recorded poems, 'virtually' appeared on their B-Side the Seaside tour.

Selkie Singing at the Passing Place by Sarah Miller & Melanie Rees
Selkie Singing at the Passing Place
[Melanie Rees & Sarah Miller]
adult poetry
ISBN 978-0-9576639-5-4 | 92pp | 2015
rrp £8.99 | ebook £5.99

Flapjack Press
Central Books

RUNNER UP Best Collaborative Work, Saboteur Awards 2015

Melanie and Sarah met when they shared a big white house on an island, next to a passing place. They waded out, sang selkie songs to a seal they named Sir Douglas, shared stories, poems, wine and secrets, and decided to create something together.
This is their potent and poetic debut collection.

Includes a Foreword by Gerry Potter. 

"This is a collection to enjoy slowly, piece by piece, like the very finest chocolates - and then, because it's better than chocolates, to enjoy and appreciate again and again." - Cathy Bryant, poet & editor of Best of Manchester Poets

"Rees and Miller depict our awkward, impossible world using believable voices that complement each other, summoning up lovers, relatives and totemic birds to capture the idiocy / wonder / terror of life." - copland smith, poet

"Love and joy are the predominant emotions: these are positive poems with their feet planted on the ground and their heads in the air." - Steven Waling, poet & reviewer

"From Sydney to Scotland via Salford and Barrow-in-Furness, Melanie and Sarah transport the reader to strange yet recognisable worlds." - Rosie Garland, poet, novelist & March Violet

Melanie performing 'Moving Day' at Manchester Book Market organised by Literature Northwest.

Lovers and Snowmen
from Selkie Singing at the Passing Place © Melanie Rees, 2015

There are some things you can steal without consequence:
sachets of Demerara sugar from bookshops and cafés,
blue pens from the Bookmaker's bench,
but lovers and snowmen
belong to the girl who woke with his dawn,
belong to the woman who caught the first flake.

I've stolen both lovers and snowmen
then sworn to be good,
given them back.
Sometimes as good as new.
Sometimes not always intact.

The snowman I wanted for love,
a midnight orphan on next-door's lawn,
so I carried him flake by flake,
gave him a home in my backyard

but his duffel-bone button eyes were stone
as he shuffled like a hostage on my untouched snow,
like the lover who sleeps on a freshly made bed
and leaves not a wrinkle or a footprint on the sheets
to show he's ever stepped there.

So I gave the snowman back,
let him keep my new red hat from Debenhams
as reparation for his pain.

But the lover I stole,
I didn't know he belonged to another;
his pebble mouth
did not tell me someone else had made him

and though he was harder to hold
than the snowman,
I cried a blizzard of ice and flakes
when I had to give him back.

There are some things you can steal without consequence
and though I etch in blue pen on coffee tables in cafés,
write in Demerara sugar on the Bookmaker's bench
that I will never, ever steal lovers or snowmen again,
I know
I will feel differently
with that first kiss of snow.

Cover photo by Melanie Rees, design by Brink.

Flapjack Press: exploring the synergy between performance and the page.