Blog Tour and Review: Salmacis – Elizabeth Train-Brown

Welcome back

I’m so pleased to be featuring and reviewing the latest poetry collection from Renard Press – Salmacis by Elizabeth Train-Brown. Huge thanks to Renard Press for providing a copy of Salmacis in exchange for an honest review.


As recounted by the Roman poet Ovid, a young nymph, Salmacis, one day spied Hermaphroditus bathing; consumed with passion, she entered the water and, begging the gods to allow them to stay together, the two became one – part man, part woman. An Eclectic Pagan, for Elizabeth Ovid’s fables are more than fiction, and form a framework for exploring identity.

Drawing on the rich mythological history associated with the tale of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, and re-examining the tale through the lens of metaphor, Salmacis: Becoming Not Quite a Woman is a stirringly relatable and powerful exploration of gender, love and identity.

this is my lake salmacis, and i am the wild nymph 

with a hollow in her belly and nothing between her legs


I usually shy away from poetry as I find it a bit intimidating; but I’m trying to go out of my comfort zone a little more and I was very intrigued when the lovely Will from Renard Press approached me about Salmacis.

What stood out to me the most about Salmacis was the visceral reaction the poetry invoked. Train-Brown’s imagery is so strong and provoking that I could literally feel it in my body.

i have a habit

of peeling away my skin

carding my fingers through hot ateries

and painting the roses red.

from ‘what blood won’t tell you’

My favourite poem from the collection is ‘chasing my therapist to a rave in the woods’, which I couldn’t help but laugh at and I’m sure many would find relatable:

it’s all very good telling me to breathe in for 4

hold for 4

breathe out for 4

hold for 4

and that’s great that’s super

that’s 18 months of my life i waited to see a doctor

breathe in for 4

hold for 4

breathe out for 4

hold for 4

from ‘chasing my therapist to a rave in the woods’

The stories in the poems and stories within them are tides, some of the waves are strong and long and others are shorter but not wavering in intensity.

Salmacis is a fantastic collection. It is raw, harsh, beautiful, and engrossing. A welcome addition to any poetry book shelf.

About the author

Elizabeth Train-Brown is a poet and writer whose work has been published internationally in various anthologies and journals. Their journalism on discrimination, asexuality, transgender issues and polyamory has also received widespread recognition. Outside of writing, Elizabeth follows in her parents’ footsteps as a circus performer and fortune teller. Salmacis is their first collection.

Order now!

You can order Salmacis directly from Renard Press (and they’re super friendly, too!).

Will you be reading Salmacis? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you a bookish week,

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