The Nine Mothers of Heimdallr

by Miriam Nash

with artwork by Christina Edlund-Plater

edition of 300 signed by the author

Photo Naomi Woddis

Hercules Editions is pleased to announce the publication of Miriam Nash’s beautiful new chapbook, The Nine Mothers of Heimdallr, which gives voice to the powerful matriarchal figures of Norse mythology.

Miriam’s own Scandinavian ancestry started her on a quest to ‘find’ the nine mothers, Jötunn or ‘giants’, who ‘gave birth’ to
the god Heimdallr. Although they are named in extant Norse literature, their stories remained untold. In Miriam’s poem, these giants are the protagonists, as they impart their creation myth to Heimdallr in a cave on the edge of the Norse world.

In developing the project, which began as a commission for the podcast series ‘Bedtime Stories for the End of the World’,
Miriam asked her mother, Christina Edlund-Plater, to create new fabric works, which experiment with the traditional craft of felting, to illustrate some of the key moments and characters in the poem. These pieces stem from older practices of making but have a very contemporary feel. This mother-daughter collaboration beautifully evokes the ideas of legacy and inheritance expressed in Miriam’s retelling of this ancient myth.

The Nine Mothers of Heimdallr includes an introduction by medieval and Viking specialist Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir
and a conversation between author and illustrator about their generational alliance in making the book.

“In this breathtaking excursion into Norse saga, Miriam Nash illuminates with visceral ‘snore-close’ clarity the creativity and violence at the heart of one of the world’s oldest creation myths. Under the technically assured and musically resonant guidance of Nash’s imagination, the poem sets off echoes across time just as the best stories always have. The sumptuous, chromatically exhilarating images by Christina Edlund-Plater add elegant steps to the perennial dance, in the Hercules Editions roster, between text and image.”
– ​Kayo Chingonyi

“‘Who made the gods?’ the child asks. ‘They made themselves with stories whispered in the night’, comes the answer from this exquisitely realised daughter-mother collaboration. Tunnelling deep into the universal structures of power, violence, love and connection, Nash simultaneously invents and reclaims myths of creation and re-creation. Through ice and fire, through water and blood, this visceral poem, with its incantatory, ritualistic music spins a tale that feels eternal yet starkly relevant to our times.”
– ​
Jacqueline Saphra

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Hercules Editions is an independent press combining poetry and prose with art and archival material, to create beautiful small books and prints. We’re based in Lambeth, the site of artist-poet William Blake’s last home and printing works in Hercules Road.

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