When I Think of My Body as a Horse


Winner of the 2020 International Book & Pamphlet Competition judged by Imtiaz Dharker & Ian McMillan

When I Think of My Body as a Horse is about trauma, recovery and the powerful, animal instincts embedded in the act of creating a family. These poems explore motherhood and body identity within the context of baby loss, when there is no ‘rainbow baby’ to add closure to the narrative.

Read a sample.

Published 1st March 2021

What Writers and Critics Think

  • When I Think of My Body as a Horse is packed with images of the body in transformation of one kind or another, from the very first ‘nothing to me now / but a sudden startle of feathers’ to the title poem, ‘another thing / I need to love and care for. // We do not share a language’. Through cycles of pregnancy and grief, there is an animal momentum to the poems that gives the whole sequence its sustained power.

    Imtiaz Dharker
  • These are powerful, heartbreaking but ultimately transcendent poems about loss, grieving and recovery. What I found most affecting in them was the way they often look through the prism of the natural world. Hares, rabbits, horses make us look hard at ourselves and our place in the order of things and through the skill of the writer we become somehow more human, and more complex the more we look into the eyes of these creatures. There are many tropes of writing about loss but this poet skilfully and gloriously avoided them all, which is no mean feat.

    Ian McMillan
  • Wendy Pratt’s prize-winning new collection is an astonishing achievement. In a sequence of powerful, moving and quite remarkable poems she succeeds in expressing an unimaginable grief in such a way that the reader is caught up in the unimaginable and begins to imagine and understand. The collection has a rare cohesion and is filled with beauty. Amazing.

    Carole Bromley


Wendy Pratt is the exactly the type of poet and writer we need, with a fine ear for sound she listens to a poem’s heart beat and allows it become the thing it is meant to. Beautiful and moving.South Bank Poetry (Dec 2021)

When I first read the title of this book, I was unsure what to expect. To my delight I discovered a collection of quite beautiful and extremely emotive poems. To analyse any would be to completely spoil the intense feeling that I had when I read them. I found myself drawn in by the subject matter and beautifully evocative language of each individual poem. This is a book that I would like to own and to read and reread. I welcome the experience of discovering it. – Val Rowe, a LoveReading Ambassador

I am grateful that these poems took me on this journey. At times I wept, carried away by the emotional trauma and wanting to cradle this woman in my arms and make things right, knowing I could not. These difficult themes have been tackled by other poets, of course, because this is a story that has been lived by many women and their partners. What I found so engaging and even enlightening in the telling of this particular story is that the poems are both raw and tender, honest and unflinching. This book has to be some sort of gift to all women who have tried to be mothers, longed to be mothers, nearly made it to being mothers, or were mothers for too short a time. – Pat Edwards, London Grip (read full review here)

Pratt’s harnessing of intense imagery and complex sentence structure, all with an ever-present thrust into the core of her inspiration, is one of the joys of When I Think of my Body as a Horse. It enables her to turn what is already an emotionally charged story into art without ever slipping into sentimentality, her skill shining through on every page. In other words, the judges of this year’s major prizes will struggle to find a more human yet exquisitely crafted collection. Here’s hoping that When I Think of my Body as a Horse soon receives the recognition that it so richly deserves.Rogue Strands (read full review here)

These are spine-tingling, heart-stopping, life-affirming poems. Wendy Pratt explores the flimsy boundary between the animal and the human, places where ‘a whole / dark hearted life might erupt’ at any second. Her writing is ‘giddy with instinct’, compelling and raw. She exposes some of the last silent places of motherhood, losses which can leave women excluded and she finds beauty and hope even in the shadows cast by grief.’Helen Mort

Visceral experiences acutely observed. These poems hiss with animal motility. Michael Stewart

In the “wild-world” of Wendy Pratt’s poetry, the body can become a horse or a hare, a flock of pigeons or a mermaid. These poems are transformative in every sense of the word – exploring how language contains and changes grief and how the natural world can help us survive terrible loss. They are both heart-breaking and life-affirming, threaded through with love, concerned with survival and held together by powerful and startling imagery. Any reader cannot help but be transformed by these poems once they encounter them. Kim Moore


Wendy Pratt is an award winning poet, author and workshop facilitator living on the North Yorkshire coast. She is the author of four collections of poetry and is widely published in magazines and journals. Wendy is a columnist for Yorkshire Life magazine, and was the first female editor of Dream Catcher magazine. Wendy is currently working on a collection of creative non-fiction essays which explore the psychogeography of burial landscapes.

Additional information

Weight 0.087 kg
Dimensions 21.6 × 0.9 × 13.8 cm
Publication Year

March 2021




Book, eBook (ePub)