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Tina Bass – Mouthings

A book of conversations.

ISBN 978-1-4716-3262-4

6″ x 9″, jacket-hardcover binding, cream interior paper, 60 pages.
Buy Now – £16.50 plus p & p.

Or Download the pdf for free (1MB)

Published 2006.

Sources and developmental origins are left behind in Tina Bass’ fleet set of scenes cut from conversations with her twin sons covering just over a year. What seemed to the poet worth archiving becomes art-action, a journal which opens at the threshold of state schooling and continues onwards. Coming across these tiny exchanges of power, acquisition, socialisation and play, we can read them in unravelling ways: as pieces from a sequence of conversation novels which were somewhere splintering and unifying; as the unsystematic studies or emblems of a parent; as an investigative diagram of articulation. What is it that’s emplotted here?

Statement from the author:

On the 6th September 2006 I wrote down a short conversation that I’d had with my two young sons. I posted it onto a MySpace blog and two weeks later recorded another, and then another; until it was suggested that I gather them into a book.

I had been aware for quite some time that I was doing more than recording the words of my children. Obviously the records serve as memorabilia; the preservation of which will demonstrate to Leon and Owen that their mother was paying attention. Each entry can be viewed as an item in the memory box, placed alongside the first baby-grows and the envelopes filled with milk teeth.

As a female writer, writing in a way that foregrounds motherhood, I believe that I have also been articulating something of the unsaid feminine. I have recently been guided to Mary Kelly’s Postpartum Document and have been fascinated by her passion for illustrating ‘the collaged life of women who choose to create and procreate’. That particular work has been critiqued by many but it is when Mary describes the Document as ‘the rationalisation of a difficult experience’ or compensation for giving birth and losing control, that I find myself smiling and releasing an exuberant ‘Hear, Hear’.

A conversation from the book:

27th September 2006

(Owen has struggled to drop off to sleep since he has started school. Leon rarely takes longer than 1-5 minutes)

Owen: ‘Cwab’ starts with ‘cuh’, ‘koala’ starts with ‘cuh’, ‘starfish’ starts with a ‘duh’

Mummy: Owen, it’s time to close your eyes and go to sleep now. It’s late.

Owen: I can’t sleep because I’m thinking.


Tina Bass currently lives, works and studies in the Midlands of England. She has had three poetry chapbooks published, ‘Fat Man Dancing’ (Poetry Monthly Press, 2006), ‘Mechanical Expressions’ (Writers Forum, 2007) and ‘Graunch’ (Infinite Editions, 2011)

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