Discussing The Lock-Picker with Sue Proffitt

“This is a poetry of learning in the best sense, learning through disassembling, through picking the lock: through opening a lock by using something other than the key” Greta Stoddart I read recently described the new Sue Proffitt collection ‘The Lock-Picker’.

I first met Sue a few years back for my spoken word Podcast ‘Spoken Label’ after being left spellbound by her debut collection ‘Open after Dark (Oversteps 2017) with her constant exploring on the beauty and mystery of the natural book.

Her second book ‘The Lock-Picker’ published by Palewell Press on 26 February 2021 is an another exploration but a very different exploration this time living alongside her mother, Jeannie who was suffering from dementia.

Speaking personally, I saw a dear friend’s mother pass away from Dementia some years before and this book really resonated deep as the journey inside from beginning to end as the author takes us right from the beginning with pieces like ‘Missing’ where the collection begins with a frank admission

“Something’s missing

Where is it

Something essential

Necessary as breathing

Your address, where is it

You reach back to that place”

This a collection that from the last line of that poem takes you on a passageway in your mind of memories frequently leaving you grasping for air.

The Lock-Picker is filled with pieces like Bunny’s Story recalling a similar memory that my friend’s mother went through

“Now that you have gone

I can return to the story –

how you turned up on the doorstep

of your friend’s house asking for her.

Where’s Bunny? you said,

white strain on your face

the effort of keeping at bay

that dark slick lapping at your edges.

Where’s Bunny? I don’t know

how they – grieving, baffled –

answered you

but somehow the words were said

Bunny’s dead. Bunny’s dead

This is a book is a tender collection that manages to counterbalance the suffering with the love that only exists between a child and their parent with unflinching honesty and as Proffitt hopes in her preface hopes people feels a ‘a little less alone’.

The book is being launched on 26 February 2021 – more details of this can be seen at:


A second reading ‘Navigating the Void’ will be held on February 28 @ 4pm with Veronica Anderson also reading from her new collection ‘Emily’s Mothers.

Please email [email protected] for the link to this reading.

The book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lock-Picker-Sue-Proffitt/dp/1911587471/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Lock-Picker+by+Sue+Proffitt&qid=1613776441&sr=8-1

Or directly through Palewell Press directly https://www.palewellpress.co.uk/Author-Sue%20Proffitt.html

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.