do not be lulled by the dainty starlike blossom by Rachael Matthews


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Rachael Matthews is a working-class poet who paints poetic miniatures of domestic and psychological interiors. Her debut pamphlet, do not be lulled by the dainty starlike blossom, is a playful, dark meditation on the queer body as site of pleasure, connection, fertility, loss and trauma.

Matthews finished writing these poems during lockdown, while she was heavily pregnant with her daughter. It was an unwitnessed pregnancy, experienced in isolation from friends and family, and invisible to the psychotherapy patients she was treating virtually when New York City became the global epicentre of the pandemic. Resilience and hope are woven into its DNA.

“Rachael Matthews has an enviable lightness of touch, finding the comic and darkly comic in everyday domesticity. The elegance with which she zips between the seemingly inconsequential and the important is so skilful. And there is so much beautiful queerness here. These poems feel unique and full of risk! I can’t wait to read more.” Richard Scott

“Poetry is born from the desire to confess and hide simultaneously, and Matthews demonstrates this masterfully.” Caroline Bird

“Nothing in these poems feels safe – neither the family past nor the new-found tenderness and hope of the present. But as in the circus tradition she references, Rachael Matthews treads this unsteady ground with apparent ease and grace, while keeping finely-honed attention on the next move or next word.” Philip Gross

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