Body Talk by Charley Barnes

Body Talk by Charley Barnes

Body Talk by Charley Barnes is out now! Available to order here (and will later be available via Amazon, directly from Picaroon, or the author).

PLEASE NOTE: Everything about this book comes with a TW/CN for eating disorders, so please go carefully if this is close to home for you.

About the Author

Charley Barnes is the current Worcestershire Poet Laureate (2019-2020). Her work is widely published across poetry journals, and Body Talk follows Charley’s first poetry pamphlet, A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache, which was published by V. Press in 2018. Alongside her poetry, Charley also writes crime fiction under the moniker C. S. Barnes (published by Bloodhound Books).

Charley’s poetry aims to open conversations around the more difficult topics in life, and Body Talk embodies that aim. A hard look at our relationship with food, these poems are intended as a reminder to love ourselves a little easier – and to butter our crumpets generously.


An apology to my body

I’m the one that has deprived food and water
because I’ll be a pound lighter after the third pee of the morning.

I’m the one that takes more than the recommended dose
for another round of self-induced stomach flu.

I’m the one who wears spanx under the size-ten-dress
to hide the outlines of my empty skin.

I’m the one that’s spent years hating you,
even though you’ve never done anything but hold me.

Body, I’m sorry now and I hope it’s not too late.


Advance Praise

‘Honest. Harrowing. Resonating. Courageous. None of these words can really even begin to describe the stark beauty of Body Talk. Charley Barnes not only gifts us with the vivid realism of a personal journey, resisting the urge to flinch away from its highs and its rock-bottom lows, but does so with a mastery of language that is magical to behold. There hasn’t been a single minute in the last 48 hours since my first reading where this collection hasn’t pushed its haunting voice to the forefront of my thoughts, halted my day, or inspired me to push harder, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Get this one. It’s a must.’ – Emily Galvin, Staffordshire Poet Laureate

‘Charley Barnes has done it again. In A Z-hearted Guide to Heartache she took us on a intimate journey that resonates with so many, and in Body Talk she has taken this a step further. Barnes has the fearless honesty to share a personal journey, but the breathtaking clarity to bring you in rather than shut you out. These poems walk us through pain and torment, but leave us with hope. You will return these poems again and again, and they will just get better.’ – Casey Bailey, author of Adjusted