A Pocketful of Chalk by Claire Booker

A Pocketful of Chalk
by Claire Booker
print 978-1-913665-69-2; ebook 978-1-913665-70-8
28th July 2022

Drop-in by Claire Booker

The South Downs lie at the heart of this collection – the sunsets and huge skies, cliffs and fossils, fishing vessels and windmills, people and sheep. Past, present and future collide within geological and emotional landscapes. Life erupts magically out of plum trees.  Love is as friable as chalk, and as deeply underpinned. A lost father is redeemed through the gift of a chocolate rabbit, a loved one returns in the shape of a trombone.  Mothers, both human and animal, prove their strength. A Pocketful of Chalk bursts with myth and metaphor, energy and originality. The giant of Wilmington leaves his hillside in an apocalyptic vision of global warming.  Herons and Ospreys take flight, and a boy releases monsters from the sea shore. A cow really does jump over the moon.

Claire Booker offers moving and memorable poetry from an iconic corner of England.


“…she writes with more nuance than we can comfortably bear.”
Poor Rude Lines

I emerged from Claire Booker’s A Pocketful of Chalk refreshed, as if from a journey across the downs and cliff-tops that she so clearly loves… Booker sees everything with a storyteller’s eye and writes in a poet’s rich metaphoric language. The poems in A Pocketful of Chalk are simultaneously personal, universal, mysterious and revealing.” – Write Out Loud

A Pocketful of Chalk is firmly rooted in its Sussex Downs location, exploring the landscape’s environs and raising concerns for climate change and what could be lost. There are also very human concerns: motherhood, intergenerational relationships and grief. All approached with the vitality and empathy of a poet wishing to share her concerns and love for the topics covered.” – Emma Lee’s Blog

“Anchored within the landscapes of the South Downs, this collection washes in
on a wave of energy… Via language which is both rich and spare, the vastness of the time and space we inhabit is encountered… A Pocketful of Chalk offers many-layered poems which reward reading and re-read-ing.” – Orbis

Many of the poems in this collection are about nature but there are others which explore relationships with family and friends. Whether she is writing about a father mending nets, an osprey fledging or mirabelle plums, Booker dazzles us with her inventive vocabulary and keen observation. Highly recommended.” – Ink Pantry

This little volume is about so much more than its title suggests. It thrills with what poetry is really about – love, death, creativity all dressed in the lightest of fabrics which are discarded as the humanity beneath comes slowly to the surface… 15p a poem and a bargain.” – The High Window

“There’s more than a little strong emotion and fine perception among the ‘occasional’ poems which form Claire Booker’s third collection, A Pocketful of Chalk.” – Artemis

“This collection has earned its place on my bookshelves for its wit and range of subject matter held together by a strong sense of place.” – The Alchemy Spoon

Booker’s particular talent makes you see things differently. Her gaze is unique and there is a lightness and earthiness to her language. I laughed out loud as I read the poem titled Call of Nature.” – London Grip