How does one cope with the enormity of losing all four siblings to cancer? In the preface to Carol A Caffrey’s poignant debut collection, The Untethered Space, she writes, ‘I turned to poetry […] to exhale the heavy burden of grief that weighed on me’. She goes on to extend an invitation, ‘pull up a chair and join me at the table.’ We accept, tentatively, in an expectation that is sure to tether reader and poet as we explore the meaning of grief in all of its guises.
If there could ever be the right – the only – title for this poetry collection, then Lamping for Pickled Fish might be it, setting the reader up as it so neatly does for the illicit, for the hidden and obscure and for journeys into unexpected spaces. … McDonough is a forager, avid in pursuit of the wild jewels of shoreline and hedgerow in her native north-east Scotland and a maker. A maker of jam, from Ronnie’s stolen rhubarb; of soused herring in the title poem; of a young adult from a toddler; and, effortlessly, of words from other words.
Ruth Aylett’s first solo pamphlet exemplifies just what thematic poetry collections make possible. Pretty in Pink examines facets of girl and womanhood, and the pressures to conform to, internalise and perform ideals of femininity, through different lenses of time, geography, class and culture.
If light fails, follow darkness in my eyes she says, unfolds the map engraved on her, marks him with a cross and draws him in. (“The Woodman’s Tale”) Just as the recently-deceased Nicolas Roeg’s film Insignificance plays lightly with several kinds of significance, only the foolhardy would draw easy assumptions from Incidentals’ title. The name Read More