The Death of a Clown / Tom Bland

Bad Betty’s second season of pamphlets opens with The Death of a Clown by Tom Bland—an audacious and essential take on authenticity, alienation and sexuality that simultaenously estranges itself from and relates to its audience. Audience, rather than readers—like the life within, this book is performance, mask, role play, seminar, B movie and YouTube clip. A peep hole into the most shocking of all our roles: human.


“Clowns, ketamine, erotic asphyxia—there’s something for everyone. These poems, sometimes shocking, often hilarious, frequently touching and always entertaining, describe a world where something true and liberating might emerge out of the extremes of experience. If the word “confession” suggests an admittance of guilt then these poems aren’t confessional, they don’t seek absolution. They do though, want to let the light in. Reading them it’s as though the poems pull back the curtains on a bright sunny morning after a debauched and only partly-remembered party.”  Mark Waldron

“Tom’s poems are a joy to read. Unsettling, engaging, and often profound, they are incisive and surprise with sharp pivots and stark imagery. At times this work exposes unspeakable corners of experience. The mask the clown wears here, allows the poet, who is both mask, clown and audience, to take us into the surreal and at times warped darkness at the underside of what it means to be human.”  Anthony Joseph

Bad Betty Shots series #1

We’re thrilled to introduce you to the first series of Bad Betty Shots: a pack of fearsome, growling mini pamphlets, each containing a single long-form poem. Small but with plenty of bite, each limited-edition Shot is a concentrated hit of the author’s voice.

100 copies of each. Get them while you can!

I’m Shocked / Iris Colomb BUY NOW

Ode to Laura Smith / Aischa Daughtery BUY NOW

The Pale Fox / Katie Metcalfe BUY NOW

TIGER / Rebecca Tamás BUY NOW


Cover illustrations by Helen Nicholson





The Dizziness of Freedom / a poetry anthology on mental health

Fifty of contemporary poetry’s most exciting voices speak out about mental health in this groundbreaking anthology. Edited by Amy Acre and Jake Wild Hall. Foreword by Melissa Lee-Houghton. Supported by Arts Council England.


Discounted copies available at our upcoming launch events.

Featuring work from Amy Acre, Raymond Antrobus, Mona Arshi, Dean Atta, Joel Auterson, Rob Auton, Dominic Berry, Mary Jean Chan, Sean Colletti, Iris Colomb, Jasmine Cooray, Dizraeli, Caleb Femi, Maria Ferguson, Kat François, Anne Gill, Salena Godden, Jackie Hagan, Jake Wild Hall, Emily Harrison, Nicki Heinen, Gabriel Jones, Anna Kahn, Malaika Kegode, Luke Kennard, Sean Wai Keung, Cecilia Knapp, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Amy León, Fran Lock, Rachel Long, Roddy Lumsden, Katie Metcalfe, Rachel Nwokoro, Kathryn O’Driscoll, Gboyega Odubanjo, Jolade Olusanya, Abi Palmer, Bobby Parker, Deanna Rodger, C.E. Shue, Lemn Sissay MBE, Ruth Sutoyé, Rebecca Tamás, Joelle Taylor, Claire Trévien, David Turner, R A Villanueva, Byron Vincent, Pascal Vine, Antosh Wojcik and Reuben Woolley.

‘This brilliant, inspiring collection not only illuminates the richness and variety of human pain, sexuality and embodiment better than any clinical text, but also shows us what language is for. Rather than labelling and imposing psychiatric categories, words here give a voice to each person’s experience, challenging and questioning what we are supposed to feel, say and be.’ Darian Leader

‘A brave and vital anthology by some of this country’s most exciting voices.’ Rae Earl

‘A vital anthology with too many constellations of brilliant poets and poems to pick out individuals; these are important poems of witness, to one’s own body and mind, to institutions, to society which is failing those who need it most. Ultimately, there is a hope here, whatever the body has endured, whatever the mind has seen, there is still poetry where things might be reported or made sense of, or redeemed.’ Andrew McMillan

‘Packed full of the greatest poetic minds you could ever wish to read, in a moment of need. Anything with Byron Vincent AND Lemn Sissay is a collection worth keeping close.’ Jack Rooke

‘The Dizziness of Freedom is a thought-provoking and challenging take on mental health conditions. It approaches the subject with honesty, providing an important contribution to challenging the stigma around mental health.’ Barbara Keeley, Shadow Minister for Social Care and Mental Health


20th Sept: Rich Mix, London TICKETS
with Joelle Taylor, Dean Atta, Salena Godden, Byron Vincent & special guests

24th Sept: Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol TICKETS
with Deanna Rodger, Rachel Long, Jolade Olusanya, Kathryn O’Driscoll & special guests, in partnership with Milk Poetry

3rd Oct: Waterstones, Birmingham TICKETS
with Luke Kennard, Mary Jean Chan, Antosh Wojcik, Anne Gill & special guests, in partnership with Verve Poetry Fest

9th Oct: All Saints Church, York TICKETS
with Rob Auton, Jackie Hagan, Kat Francois & Maria Ferguson, in partnership with Say Owt

The Story Is / Kate B Hall

“If it’s the beginning or the end, it doesn’t matter as long as you tell it all.”

Frank, funny and poignant, Kate B Hall’s new collection is a lifetime in the making. From her wartime beginnings as a ‘difficult child’ to the tentative joy of early great-grandmotherhood, the power in these poems shines through in the tension held between the tough and the tender.

Finding no truth untouchable, Hall squares up to mortality, dementia and unloving mothers, yet almost always unearths a seedling of hope growing amongst the wreckage. Resilient and playful to the last, this is a book that loves hard, a long-awaited chronicle from a well-loved writer.

“In this debut collection you’ll find a glorious mix of the historical, quotidian, humorous and tragic. Kate B Hall confronts the often-devastating realities of life and death with a surprising lightness of touch, always leaving room for the reader to ‘experiment with rejoicing’. Whether she is describing children’s gas masks, the National Health Service, true love, the experience of cancer or the texture of pomegranate seeds, she writes with a beguiling and intimate directness. Pour yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up and read on.”  Jacqueline Saphra


In My Arms / Setareh Ebrahimi

Trespass across the human landscape of Setareh Ebrahimi’s world. You’ll find yourself a willing voyeur of stolen moments between the intrepid and humanely flawed figures who populate her poems: mothers, lovers, lost siblings, corrupted angels, nurses and ghosts. Leave your faint heart at home: these poems are set in extremes, either frozen or desert-hot. They dance and skip to a musicality that seems to come from the land, from the skin.

Ebrahimi’s is an assured voice, both soft and hard, ruthless and seductive. Line by line, she layers imagery as if pouring a glass of water to the brim: full enough to satisfy great thirst, without spilling over.

“The debut pamphlet from Setareh Ebrahimi announces a new talent for a new era in spoken word and live literature. The ‘secret weight’ of this book is its ability to fuse surreal lyricism and powerful imagery. A book to read and speak in equal measure.”  Joelle Taylor

“In the hands of Setareh Ebrahimi, everyday words catch the light at just the right angle. She produces x-rays of the spirit within, sending a shiver of recognition down the spine.”  Barry Fentiman Hall

“Ebrahimi’s pamphlet paints a picture of a woman drawing lines between herself and her surroundings, her lovers and her family. My favourite poem is ‘Wandering Rocks’, where you ‘almost forget to be’ and rather envision the scene displayed between words.”  Katrine Lyn Solvaag

“Both erotic and macabre all at once, Setareh seems to delight in perverting the everyday, and I would more than happily let her.”  Connor Sansby


Unremember / Joel Auterson

Unremember is steeped in the landscape of home. Of early memories, and endings that cannot be resolved by a Pokemon Centre. In these poems, mountains, rivers and dirt are set in opposition to London’s bright spots as selves of various ages gather on the page.

Joel Auterson unpicks nostalgia and loneliness, illness and modern masculinity with the delicate hand of a heart surgeon. David Bowie sings out from a lighthouse as men cry in posh coffee shops. Beautifully sensitive poems alternate with Auterson’s show-stopping ‘clunks’ in a book that will stay in your head long after the reading is done.

“Joel’s collection is a wise, youthful, solemn, playful, nostalgic wormhole. A joy to fall into. Expect bright streaks and dark scraps of memory and for gods to be made, lost and chased up mountains.”  Katie Bonna

“Auterson’s work is shot through with insight and tenderness, as brave in formal innovation as it is in disclosure and soul. These are poems of how we form our consciousness from pop culture and ancient wisdom, yearning and loss and, ultimately, how we survive. A wonderful debut collection.”  Luke Kennard


Solomon’s World / Jake Wild Hall

When your child is born, the world changes before your eyes. You learn to know yourself anew: as both parent and child, resilient and fragile, powerful and flawed. It’s this context that frames Solomon’s World – Jake Wild Hall’s compassionate and acutely honest debut.

Hall invites you in for a cup of tea, then opens a door to the edge of the world, via prisons and pixie godmothers, giants and fireworks, AT-AT walkers, hospital wards. Against a backdrop of addiction and loss, moments of brittle beauty and unconditional love prevail, represented by a rich cast of both literal and honorary family. This is a voice reaching out to bridge gaps, pulling you in from the cold.

“Jake Hall is a writer of depth and elegance. A book of beauty, of small moments and imagined tomorrows. A book of becoming. This is the sound a heart makes when it heals.” Joelle Taylor

“Already known as a passionate performer, the way Jake pours his personality out on the page means the moment you finish you want to start all over again.”  Harry Baker