In the Pleasure Dairy

Helen Charman


 In the Pleasure Dairy is the latest poetry pamphlet from Helen Charman, a writer and academic based in Glasgow. 

In this collection, Charman explores the connections between the idealisation of feminised labour and maternal relationships, and the exploitation of precarious workers. Inspiration is drawn from the links between fairy tales and the subconscious: a figure called the ‘Ur-Stepmother’ recurs throughout the text as a representative of the cruelty that often passes for care under capitalism.

"In nineteenth-century Britain, the large country estates of the landed gentry would often include two kinds of dairy: a working dairy, where butter, milk, cheese and cream were made by working-class women, and a ‘fancy’, ‘polite’, or ‘pleasure’ dairy. The latter construction followed an architectural trend from early modern France (enthusiastically adopted by Marie Antoinette) in which a fake dairy was installed, often with extremely ornate décor, so the ladies of the house could pretend to engage in what was considered to be pleasing, domestic, appropriately feminine work, without having to do any actual labour. Often, the friezes that adorned the walls of the pleasure dairies featured depictions of womanly virtue, including childcare and breastfeeding." Helen Charman on In the Pleasure Dairy for The Poetry Society

Author / Publisher
Helen Charman / Sad Press
Dimensions 21 x 15 x 0.5 cm

About Helen Charman

Helen Charman is a writer and academic based in Glasgow. Her second pamphlet, Daddy Poem, was shortlisted for the 2019 Ivan Juritz Prize; her latest, In the Pleasure Dairy, is published by Sad Press. Her first nonfiction book, Mother State - a political history of motherhood - is forthcoming from Allen Lane. She teaches English Literature at Durham University, and is an associate member of staff at Camberwell College of Arts and the Glasgow School of Art. As resident commissioning editor at MAP magazine, she is running the year-long TENANCY project.  

Newly commissioned writing by Helen Charman appears in DCA's newest publication Ghost Calls.