Hollie McNish's poem on Women's Hour

(71 Posts)
PurveyorOfWoo Fri 11-Mar-11 10:31:53

Did anyone else catch Hollie McNish's poem 'Wow' that she read on R4 Womens Hour for the Women of the World festival?

It provoked such a visceral reaction in me I actually cried!

It really is worth catching if you can - Listen again is not available yet, but should be by tomorrow, it is the first thing so you won't have to listen to the whole hour.

It's all about bodies aging and the pressures to be perfect and obliterate all the stories our bodies tell, particularly from having children.

lambslettuce Fri 11-Mar-11 10:36:03

I just started the same thread in Feminism! It should be the MN anthem, dontcha think?

PurveyorOfWoo Fri 11-Mar-11 10:38:28

It was Amazing!

FourFortyFour Fri 11-Mar-11 10:40:07

I listened to it and thought it was really good.

NettieH Fri 11-Mar-11 10:43:22

Me too... amazing and beautiful... I was searching for it on net as want to send to NCT buddies - I have a six month old and it totally hits the spot and is such an empowering message for women lamenting their postpregnancy bodies.

LadyBiscuit Fri 11-Mar-11 10:43:56

It was great wasn't it? There was another poem she read on WH a few months' ago which was also fabulous

mandalee Fri 11-Mar-11 10:53:53

If anyone finds the text - or a playback link - let us know please! Have been fighting with BBC iPlayer but can't get it to let me listen to the beginning of the program... grr.

A stunning poem, would like to send it to every woman I know (with Hollie's permission, of course!)

Curlylox Fri 11-Mar-11 10:56:18

I heard it.......was very moving. Would love hear it again and load it on ipod - will it be on a podcast at all do you know?

maswera Fri 11-Mar-11 11:07:29

I have just been searching for it too! If anyone finds the text online could they please post the link - ta

LadyBiscuit Fri 11-Mar-11 11:10:17

I have found a collection of poems she has written about pregnancy and childbirth here (although doesn't include Wow) which you can download for free. Although if you make a donation, she will give it to a charity which educates girls

LadyBiscuit Fri 11-Mar-11 13:35:40

The iplayer link is up so perhaps you could transcribe it?

Should be available as a podcast too

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-Mar-11 13:39:22
barleywood Fri 11-Mar-11 13:43:56


Clothilde Fri 11-Mar-11 13:49:42

I started listening to it very umimpressed, and thinking it was all a bit trite and cliched, but was in tears by the end!

Prolesworth Fri 11-Mar-11 14:40:51

Message withdrawn

mrskbpw Fri 11-Mar-11 14:43:32

Wonderful stuff.

Homebird8 Fri 11-Mar-11 15:26:00

Some of her other stuff -

Push Kick A Journey Through The Beauty Brilliance And Bollocks Of Having A Baby

I loved this morning's poem too!

poorbette Fri 11-Mar-11 16:10:17

I was lucky enough to be in the live audiance this morning and watched her perform, I spoke to her after the show and she was really engaging. She then performed a few more poems in the foyer of the Royal festival hall - all of which were strong and emotive. She has a c.d. out called 'Touch', I intend to get a copy!

charlielouie Fri 11-Mar-11 17:06:46

I also cried, while driving down the A14!! Incredible poem. I promised myself when I got home to find a copy of it and frame it but can't seem to find it on the web.

PurveyorOfWoo Fri 11-Mar-11 18:09:37

Thanks for the link Geraldine. Just listened again ... and I'm back in tears smile

Really worth a listen if you didn't catch it this morning.

PurveyorOfWoo Fri 11-Mar-11 20:49:47

Shameless bump

HollieMcNish Fri 11-Mar-11 22:38:14

Hey, I just wanted to say am so so pleased you all enjoyed the poem! I wrote it last week for the festival and will put up the words on www.holliemcnish.bandcamp.com as soon as I get home on Monday. All these comments have made a lovely surprise for the end of a mad hectic day, thanks so much xxx

lambslettuce Fri 11-Mar-11 22:48:19


Can you do a YouTube clip so that all teenagers get to see it, Hollie?

I speak as the mum of a teenage daughter.

PurveyorOfWoo Fri 11-Mar-11 22:50:37

Oooh Hollie <swoons>

Glad you had a good day grin

Have I mentioned that your poem made me cry? I was pottering about at home with my 3yo and 16 month old when it came on. It was like a bolt out of the blue for me. I really wasn't expecting to be so knocked out in Women's Hour. So much so I had to come on here and post grin

I'll be looking up some more of your work for sure.


littleant Fri 11-Mar-11 22:51:18

holly, thank you so much for your poetry. i parked up outside of work and shed a tear whilst listening to your poem this morning. would you ever consider reciting your poetry to a group of young mums in peckham. i work in a childrens centre and we are just setting up a new group for young mums, you would be such a treat for them. claire

lambslettuce Fri 11-Mar-11 22:53:24

I'd say it was Woman's Hour's finest moment as far as I'm concerned. And I'm really old and have been listening avidly for many, many years.

zippy539 Fri 11-Mar-11 23:02:01

I agree Lamb - just listened to it again and totally blubbing. I want to keep it for my daughter when she's older - brilliant.

hellymelly Fri 11-Mar-11 23:10:36

Blimey-that made me WAIL ! wiping the tears off now.Agree with zippy,-brilliant.

lambslettuce Fri 11-Mar-11 23:52:53

If it doesn't make the cut for Weekend Woman's Hour, the world really will have gorn mad.

suddsoaps Sat 12-Mar-11 16:04:50

It was beautiful my husband heard it first. We listened to it again and we wept .

nellyjane Sat 12-Mar-11 17:54:11

I'm another who wept listening to this when it came on weekend woman's hour, with my one year old sleeping beside me. Thank you Hollie. Will go and have a look at your website.

LucieM Sat 12-Mar-11 18:25:06

Hollie, just looking for your poem online cos I was moved to tears when I heard you on the radio. I was having a particularly down on myself morning, feeling saggy stretched marked bellied and drooping boobs, just like you said, and your words spoke straight to me, like a message from the universe! It was so beautiful! Thank you for reminding me I am a normal woman! xx

justinejammaker Sat 12-Mar-11 20:14:04

Just been listening to the Saturday version of womans hour and ended up having to park up with my 2 daughters in the back as I was crying so much. I have never been moved to tears by a poem before and was so surprised by my reaction I had to look it up again as soon as I got home and cried all over again. Utterly fantastic!!

could some bright person do a link please? Was listening to it taking DD to a party....

travellingwilbury Sat 12-Mar-11 20:25:08

Another one that listened and had a wee sob , Wow ! indeed .

LadyBiscuit Sat 12-Mar-11 20:26:20

GeraldineMN posted one quite early on in the thread (as did I). Scroooool down

Amarach Sat 12-Mar-11 20:45:44

I know I'm echoing what everyone else has said, but I was listening to Weekend Woman's Hour today and found myself weeping on hearing 'Wow'. Have just been listening to some of Hollie's other stuff on http://www.myspace.com/papanicol. So great to hear breastfeeding (for example) as the subject of beautiful and powerful poetry.

Amarach Sat 12-Mar-11 20:47:11

Sorry meant to make that link click-able [http://www.myspace.com/papanicol]

Amarach Sat 12-Mar-11 20:51:18

Oops, sorry - I won't bother trying again but it IS worth listening to her other stuff.

blush How did I miss the link? Can't see over my pregnant tummy and saggy boobs wink

LadyBiscuit Sat 12-Mar-11 21:32:10

[http://www.myspace.com/papanicol]] there you go

Ilovemydog - I hoik my boobs over my shoulders, only way wink

LadyBiscuit Sat 12-Mar-11 21:32:38
bornie Sun 13-Mar-11 11:14:12

Heard Hollie on woman's hour and was also stopped in my tracks. Have since listened to Push Kick and am blown away at the strength and impact of this poetry. I am a midwife and a mother of four (including three young adult girls) and am so inspired by this. I am thinking I might read out 'opposite man' at one of our antenatal classes. In short Hollie you have made a real impression on me and discovering your poetry has been the highlight of my week. THANKS !!!!!!

Bramshott Sun 13-Mar-11 12:00:27

Blimey - I nearly had to pull over when I was listening to this in the car yesterday.

Hollie - it's an amazing poem. Really looking forward to reading the text again online and sharing with friends!

whoamamma Sun 13-Mar-11 18:07:11

just heard it on wh podcast. amazing - about to send it to everyone I know!

Hollie - wow! <trots off to check out your other work>

HollieMcNish Mon 14-Mar-11 22:26:48


I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all these comments, it is so lovely to hear from people and I'm amazed by the response to be honest. Because of all this talk I've now managed to record and master the poem and put it online so anyone who wants to can download it for free. Thanks to my wee girl for sleeping for the last few hours without waking, I had the time to do it!!

Here's the link:

And I hope you don't mind but I used lambslettuce comment as a quote. Is that ok? I was just really chuffed with it! I can take it down if you don't want me to use it, no problem x

Oh, and a video of it is at: www.youtube.com/standuppoetry

Thank you all soooo much and hope you are all well and happy and enjoying motherhood xxx

Prolesworth Mon 14-Mar-11 22:28:24

Message withdrawn

Thanks so much Hollie. I heard another poem you performed on Women's Hour a couple of months ago and that was really good too. Hope your work continues to go from strength to strength and carry on enjoying your motherhood.

ps my friend Clare in Cambridge said you were really nice and she was right

HollieMcNish Mon 14-Mar-11 22:32:36

Great! Am so happy that it has made some of you feel better too. I hate those 'look in the mirror and sigh' moments. Rubbish. We shouldn't have to do that. Also forgot to say to littleant that I'd love to read at mothers groups etc. Just thinking how I could organise it at the moment, so will keep in touch x

bronze Mon 14-Mar-11 22:33:20

My connections not fast enough to listen or watch. Has it been typed up anywhere?

hellymelly Mon 14-Mar-11 22:34:43

No,thank YOU Hollie,for such a beautiful and inspiring piece of work.I also have daughters and I want this to be the message they carry in their hearts,rather than the endless images of surgically altered celebrities.

PurveyorOfWoo Mon 14-Mar-11 22:39:13

Brilliant Hollie, thanks for that link. I too shall be passing it to all the women I know. Have just listened to it again and that last line especially does not loose any of its impact in the re-telling.

Glad to hear your baby was cooperating, she must realise what a great message you have needing to get out there grin!

Good luck with all you do in the future

KatieMiddleton Mon 14-Mar-11 22:46:02

Ooh Hollie posted on the facebook page I admin <preens>. She is my new hero grin

I think her poems should be on the national curriculum. So inspiring. Makes all the shit we're subjected to of primped, preened and air brushed unobtainable ideals feel very insignificant by comparison.

HollieMcNish Mon 14-Mar-11 22:48:31

Hi Bronze, it's typed up here:



Habbibu Mon 14-Mar-11 22:58:34

Wow indeed. Fantastic.

I've had psoriasis since I was 16, and I am eternally grateful for it - it's made me love and appreciate my body so much more. I want my daughter and son to feel the same about themselves and will save this poem for them.

piprabbit Mon 14-Mar-11 23:08:07

Hollie, thank you for the links - I'm sharing this with my friends, but most importantly with my Mum and my sister.

Thank you.

bronze Tue 15-Mar-11 07:23:08

Ahh thank you. I had to press play before the lyrics option came up.

Thank you
another who cried

bamboostalks Tue 15-Mar-11 07:46:05

So so amazing. It says it all.

bornie Tue 15-Mar-11 14:25:29

Hollie, any chance you could post words to opposite man on bandcamp site. Would love to show to pregnant couples or put up on wall of midwives office. x x

KeenBean Tue 22-Mar-11 13:47:38

I realise that I am coming late to this discussion, but Hollie's poem is a complete inspiration which also moved me to tears. Even DH was moved; which is a rare occurrence.

trice Tue 22-Mar-11 15:18:11

Hollie can I show/read your poem to my Guides?
I really loved it. I bought Touch. Love it.

HollieMcNish Sun 27-Mar-11 17:47:20

Hi, just to say I've put opposite man words up bornie - http://holliemcnish.bandcamp.com/track/opposite-man

And that trice I would love you to read it out to your Guides, ofcourse you can and so pleased that you like touch!

Thanks again for all your comments, it's so lovely to read! Just off to try to get a nap for half hour, my one year old is still not sleeping all night but lovely all the same!! x

spooktrain Mon 28-Mar-11 13:17:11

really uplifting :-)
You are so right, we should be PROUD of our bodies. I'm so glad I read this today.

ShowOfHands Mon 28-Mar-11 13:17:19

Non-sleeping one year olds are just brilliant. Such good fun.

My mother in law has just turned 50 and to celebrate my father in law cooked a meal for her and all the women she loves and have inspired her over the years. There were 25 women there, nearly all mothers and I played your poem to them all. Everybody sobbed (they were drunk too I must point out). Such a powerful poem.

I'm really pleased I listened to Women's Hour when you were on as otherwise I might never have been introduced to your poetry.

missjackson Mon 28-Mar-11 16:52:14

Wow, try listening to that while breast-feeding your 6 day old daughter - at some point today I might be able to stop crying!
Just amazing. Thank you Hollie. smile

TaffetaCat Mon 28-Mar-11 18:15:42

Really wonderful grin

HollieMcNish Mon 16-May-11 20:57:50

Hey Everyone. I thought I'd share this video that has been made of a poem I wrote all about finding out I was pregnant. I hope you enjoy it too and I hope everyone is doing great. It's not public yet so this is the youtube link


greypubes Mon 23-May-11 15:19:13

some of you need to get a grip.

HollieMcNish Mon 12-Sep-11 13:37:31

For anyone in the London area who wrote on this thread. All your support has led me to start a residency in Battersea Arts Centre to develop their toddler play area into a poetry stage where people with kids can come and see a gig / reading. My first days for anyone in London are here, and free: come along anytime, would be lovely to meet you..! www.bac.org.uk/whats-on/push-kick-scratch/ I'll be in the childrens play area on the 22nd and 23rd Sept, morning and early afternoon x

babyhood Sat 22-Sep-12 10:09:09

check out more of Hollie's poems in a new film called Babyhood (www.babyhood-film.com) :-)

babyhood Sat 22-Sep-12 10:11:34

oops - here is link to trailer...

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