Raving Beauties women's theatre company was born out of a deep sense of frustration with domesticity, naivete and a burning need for a creative outlet. It led to an enormous personal, political and professional learning curve. Hallelujah for 50ft Women is their third anthology of women's poetry. Their first book, In the Pink (The Women's Press), sold thousands and was reprinted six times. Our relationship to our bodies is affected by many things including culture, religion, family, sex, hunger, pleasure and pain. This new anthology is inspired by a passionate desire to celebrate our bodies in a fully realised way, leaving Barbie's grotesque silent pliability in her box for good. Instead of pouting, our mouths have the power of language, our romantic fluttering hearts give and receive compassion, skin ages with grace when we see beauty in everything, a pierced belly button connects us to our ancestors and a belly needs to be strong before it's flat. This book has been selected from over a thousand submissions. New poets published here for the first time are proud to share this anthology with established writers such as Selima Hill, Kim Addonizio, Jackie Kay and Helen Dunmore.
By revealing the complex depths of our relationships with our bodies Hallelujah for 50ft Women makes a much needed contribution to a compassionate understanding of our evolving selves.
'In their performances and anthologies Raving Beauties have done a great service to women writers' - Guardian. ' - brilliant, actually' - Observer.
Raving Beauties are Sue Jones-Davies, Fan Viner and Dee Orr. In the Pink, their first cabaret of songs and poetry opened in a pub, sold out at the Edinburgh Festival and featured on Channel 4's opening night in 1982. Make It Work was commissioned for Channel 4's second birthday. A third show about the relationship between mothers and daughters, Tea at the Ritz premiered at the Young Vic Studio. The Women's Press invited them to edit collections of poetry inspired by the shows. This led to In the Pink (1983), No Holds Barred (1985), an introduction to the work of Polish poet Anna Swir, Fat Like the Sun (1986), and a collection of prose and poetry about relationship breakdown, Bust Up (1992). Two decades later they have re-emerged with Hallelujah for 50ft Women: poems about women's relationship to their bodies (Bloodaxe Books, 2015). Raving Beauties have toured their shows in the UK, Ireland, Guernsey, Norway and Spain, and received British Council funding to visit Jamaica and Mexico. Exploring issues including work, motherhood, love, creativity, sexuality, incest and domestic violence, they have touched the lives of thousands of women. Sue Jones-Davies - with a history as a singer and actor spanning many years - is probably best known as 'the Welsh tart' in Monty Python's Life of Brian. She was a member of the Bowles Brothers Band and the Welsh singing duo Cusan Tan. Sue now spends most of her time teaching yoga and as a forester in Wales. Dee Orr is an actor, musician and singer whose career began in bands such as Hi Jinx. Her television appearances include Alan Bleasdale's GBH, The Harry Hill Show and the film Shopping. Dee spent several years as a tutor and healer at the College of Psychic Studies before moving to Norfolk. Fan Viner has acted, directed, written poetry and plays and taught in many different institutions including a prison, universities and a psychiatric hospital. Most recently she has received Arts Council awards for community multi-media performances and installations, a new initiative developed with the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. She lives in Hastings.