My poetry was first published when I was 15 years old –  in an anthology, Next Wave Poets 1, edited by Desmond Hertzberg. More poems appeared the following year in Next Wave Poets 2.  In my early twenties, I wrote ‘Special Delivery’, a poem about the death of my father, which Norman Hidden accepted for his magazine, New Poetry. Norman continued to encourage me for almost thirty years, until his death in 2006. I will always be grateful for his support and for that of the late Peter Porter, who I first met as a student at the University of Kent, and who advised me to apply for an E.C.Gregory Award. I did this in 1980 and was awarded one the following year, along with Mark Abley, Philip Gross, Kathleen Jamie, Alan Jenkins, Simon Rae and others. In 1981, I was also fortunate to be a first-prize winner in the Cheltenham Festival Poetry Competition. I continued to publish in magazines and anthologies and, in 1988, was thrilled when Neil Astley accepted a manuscript of The Peepshow Girl for Bloodaxe Books. Raiding the Borders followed in 1996, New Wings, in 2007, and my fourth collection, Hyem, was published on 26 October 2017.

Hyem  (Bloodaxe, October 2017)

Product Details

Hyem is about where and how we feel at home – about putting down roots and seeing how far they reach. There are first homes here, creative homes, final homes; those we choose and those we don’t. It’s also about growing up on Tyneside, loving a place through changes and celebrating those who preserve its history and spirit. Home may be a house, a city, country or a planet so Hyem includes eco-poems about some of our elusive neighbours with settings ranging from the New Forest to New Zealand.

Offers at:   https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/search/?keyword=hyem



‘Hyem (Geordie for ‘home’) is an irresistible collection of carefully constructed observations and recollections which are at once both challenging and soothing. Bolam’s fourth collection from Bloodaxe explores her roots, pulls them out from the ground, examines and replants them once more, bearing new fruits and deeper understanding of place and home. Hyem is an unhurried adventure of rushing rivers, recollections of lost loved ones, changing cities and landscapes, and a gentle self-renewal through the re-examination of memory.’

Hyem is an outstanding collection that gives a sense of replenishment and rejuvenation, and at the same time encourages the reader to reflect on one’s own construction of where we call home.’

Jack Little   http://www.thelakepoetry.co.uk/reviews/feb18/

‘Poems by Robyn Bolam, including Moving On, feature in The Land of Three Rivers, Neil Astley’s magnificent new anthology of verse from and about the North East of England. I should declare an interest, having a short poem of my own included, but add that Moving On, like all the works chosen here, tapped me on the shoulder first: I picked it after I’d finished Hyem and before I’d opened the anthology. Both Hyem and The Land of Three Rivers are pure belta.’

Carol Rumens            Guardian poem of the week


‘Robyn Bolam’s Hyem is a carefully constructed collection of poems that are scrupulously crafted and rooted in authentic experience. The images are well observed and to the point, yet frequently resonate  beyond the circumstances that have inspired them. It’s a collection that allows you to feel and makes you think. It is one also to which you can return with renewed pleasure.’

David Cooke, The High Window

new wings

New Wings: Poems 1977-2007 (Bloodaxe, 2007)

The poems in “New Wings” focus on many different kinds of beginnings. Drawn both from new poems as well as from two earlier collections, these are poems of living through and coming to terms with changes – sometimes momentous or traumatic – and moving on into the future. In them, the reader travels from Scotland to Stockholm, the Californian desert, New York, rural Pennsylvania, Venice, Constanta, the Blue Mountains, Sydney and Tyneside.


“Compelling and accomplished…a poet of unusual talent” Bernard O’Donoghue, The Times Literary Supplement
“Neither old-fashioned nor new-fangled, but abiding and spiritual.” Peter Porter, Observer
“She displays a range of emotion and characterisation with both versatility and understanding…These are poems I will gladly return to again and again without fear of disappointment.” Richard Jones, Poetry Wales
“The new poems pulse with determined affirmation and renewal…humour and lush detail merge with…poems of unusual intelligence and historical sensitivity”,
Todd Swift, Poetry Review
“There is calm acceptance of mystery; there is precise observation…and carefully sustained metaphor…and in all of this, there is the poet’s trust in her own perceptions, which are at once worldly and otherworldly”,
Lavinia Greenlaw & Alan Jenkins, PBS Bulletin

raidingbordersRaiding the Borders (Bloodaxe, 1996)

These poems raid borders of time and place through several centuries up to the present. Like geographical divisions, those between history and myth, despair and hope, possession and loss, are never fixed. From the borders of Northumbria there are forays into Scotland, Wales, southern England, Ireland, and beyond, which show people living with boundaries which they either dare to challenge or are unable to cross.

img062aThe Peepshow Girl (Bloodaxe, 1989)

This first collection is full of different voices – from those of a photographer’s model, a mourning father, a widow fiercely protecting her children, a second wife, and Mrs Mackie with her north-east dialect –  to the words of a Jacobean fragment, a laburnum tree, Eurydice, Guinevere and Isabelle of France. There is also,’…vivid natural description…and freer, more mysterious poems which convey an otherworldly chill…’ Ruth Fainlight

Poetry Anthologies edited by Robyn:

elizaEliza’s Babes: four centuries of women’s poetry in English, c.1500-1900 (Bloodaxe, 2005)

This comprehensive anthology covers over 100 poets from a wide range of social backgrounds across the English-speaking world. Familiar names – Anne Bradstreet, Aphra Behn, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti – appear alongside other fascinating writers from America, Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand as well as the UK.


 ‘Everyone interested in literature or in the place of women in history should own this book. Eliza’s Babes will take you on an extraordinary journey through the lives and writing of women who were famous in their time, mixing with the literary glitterati, as well as those who were ‘minor poets’ struggling to keep food on the table through their writing. . . This is one of the most wonderful, mind-changing, horizon-lifting books I have ever read.  I have given it as presents to many of my friends, and I urge you to buy it.’
Maggie Butt, Poet, novelist, and former Chair of the National Association of Writers in Education

‘good resource book which helps to widen the historical poetic canvas’.

Sarah Law, Stride

Time Present and Time Past: Poets at the University of Kent, 1965-1985, ed. Yorrick, 1985 (published as Marion Lomax)

Robyn’s poems can also be found in:

Poetry & All That Jazz, South Downs Poetry Festival/Festival of Chichester, 2021

The Selbourne Association Magazine, no.62, January 2021

Poem podcast, ‘The First Swallow’ from The Seasons Exhibition, St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington, September – December 2020:

2020 Poemfilm, ‘The Hunter Meets His Match’. You can find it at: https://vimeo.com/426702586 and at: https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/category/robyn-bolam

This was part of an exciting collaborative project, devised and completed by film maker, Ian Cottage, that also involved three other Bloodaxe poets: Miriam Gamble, Philip Gross and Helen Ivory. All the films are available on Ian’s website – grateful thanks to him and to Neil Astley.

No News, ed. Paul Munden, Alvin Pang & Shane Strange, Recent Work Press, Canberra, Australia, 2020

Poetry & All That Jazz, South Downs Poetry Festival/Festival of Chichester, 2020

Poetry & All That Jazz, South Downs Poetry Festival/Festival of Chichester, 2019

Giant Steps, ed. Paul Munden & Shane Strange, Recent Work Press, Canberra, Australia, 2019

Pale Fire – New writing on the Moon, ed. Alexandra Loske, Frogmore Press, 2019

Poetry & All That Jazz, South Downs Poetry Festival/Festival of Chichester, 2018

Words for the Wild, ed. Amanda Oosthuizen and Louise Taylor, 2018

Land of Three Rivers: the poetry of North-east England, ed. Neil Astley. Bloodaxe, 2017

Metamorphic: 21st century poets respond to Ovid, ed. Paul Munden & Nessa O’Mahony. Recent Work Press, 2017

At Sea. Ferry Tales, 2017

Fifty Ways to Fly, ed. Alison Hill. Rhythm & Muse, 2017

Two Thirds North, ed. Paul Schreiber & Adnan Mahmutovic. Stockholm, 2016

Beached Here at Random by Mysterious Forces, ed. Ben Hickman & Jan Montefiore. 2015

The Arts of Peace, ed. A. Blamires & P. Robinson. English Association/Two Rivers Press, 2014

Poetry Review vol.103:4 Winter 2013, p.54

Heart Shoots,  Indigo Dreams for Macmillan Cancer Support, 2013

Riptide, volume 9, August 2013

A Mutual Friend, English Association/Two Rivers Press, 2012

Resurgence, Winter 2009

Poetry Salzburg Review  vol.13 University of Salzburg, Spring 2008

London Magazine, 2008

Feeling the Pressure: Poetry and the Science of Climate Change, ed. P. Munden, British Council, Berne, 2007

New Writing  ed. Graeme Harper vol.1:0, 2004

Swedish Reflections ed. Judith Black & Jim Potts Arcadia/British Council, 2003

Modern Scottish Women Poets ed. Dorothy McMillan & Michel Byrne Canongate Classics, 2003

Earth Songs ed. Peter Abbs, Green Books, 2002

Staying Alive: real poems for unreal times, ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe, 2002

Everybody’s Mother, ed. Linda Coggin & Clare Marlow  Peterloo, 2001

Poetry Review, ed. Peter Forbes, vol. 91 no.2 Summer 2001

New Blood, ed. Neil Astley, 1999 (published as Marion Lomax)

The Tabla Book of New Verse, ed. Stephen James, 1998 (published as Marion Lomax)

Interchange, ed. Richard Marggraf Turley, 1998 (published as Marion Lomax)

The Forward Book of Poetry, 1997 (published as Marion Lomax)

The Long Pale Corridor: Contemporary Poems of Bereavement, ed. Judi Benson & Agneta Falk, Bloodaxe, 1996 (published as Marion Lomax)

Sixty Women Poets, ed. Linda France, 1993 (published as Marion Lomax)

Klaonica: Poems for Bosnia ed. Ken Smith & Judi Benson, 1993 (published as Marion Lomax)

Poetry with an Edge, ed. Neil Astley Bloodaxe, 1988, 1993, (published as Marion Lomax)

Poetry with a Sharper Edge, ed. David Orme and Neil MacRae, Stanley Thornes, 1988 (published as Marion Lomax)

London Magazine, August/September 1987 (published as Marion Lomax)

Poetry Durham, Spring 1987 (published as Marion Lomax)

Four Ways, Phoenix Press, 1985 (published as Marion Lomax)

Slipping Glimpses, ed. Carol Rumens Poetry Book Society, 1985 (published as Marion Lomax)

The Gregory Awards Anthology 1981&1982, eds. Howard Sergeant & Anthony Thwaite (Carcanet, 1982 (published as Marion Lomax)