Winner of the 2012 Aurora Award for Best Poem

Skeleton Leaves: a Collection

“He was a lovely boy, clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that ooze out of trees but the most entrancing thing about him was that he had all his first teeth…” —J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Skeleton Leaves: A Collection

By Helen Marshall
Kelp Queen Press, July 2011


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“Helen Marshall’s sinister and elegant vision permeates this beautiful book, leaving the reader feeling like they have somehow been transported to Neverland and back, bringing with them the shades of lost boys and their spectral mothers, trailing words flying from between dark stars. Gorgeous and heartbreaking.”

—Sandra Kasturi, author of The Animal Bridegroom

“Helen Marshall takes a children’s classic, strips away the flesh, and reveals the dark heart of Peter Pan beating beneath. At once about the violence of immature imaginings and the bitterness of banal adulthood where those imaginings are abandoned, Skeleton Leaves is magical in the true meaning of the word: dangerous and wild and hauntingly seductive. Disturbing as hell, yet extraordinarily compassionate, its ambition creeps up on you to quite dizzying effect. Reading these poems is an awfully big adventure indeed.”

—Robert Shearman, author of Everyone’s Just So So Special and Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical

“With Ondaatje-like resonance and attention to detail, Marshall explores the fatal attraction between a boy who never grows up and a pirate in love with his own death, the deforming ideals of motherhood and the sad similarities between adulthood and Alzheimer’s.”

—Gemma Files, author of The Hexslinger Series 


I’m very pleased to announce that Skeleton Leaveswon an Aurora Award from the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. It was been nominated for a Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association and jury-selected for the Preliminary Ballot of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement from the Horror Writers Association.