The Other Place by Brendan Cleary
Through a series of love letters and individual poems that are both conversational and extraordinary, Cleary beautifully explores the ghosts of his past and what it means to experience a loss, promising to leave readers dewy-eyed with a deep yearning for more.
Brendan Cleary is originally from County Antrim, Ireland. He grew up at the height of the so-called “Troubles.” His collection, The Irish Card (Bloodaxe Books, 1993), explores his sense of being an “inner émigré” following his move to England in the late seventies. He was the founder-editor of The Echo Room magazine and press and has been an abiding presence in the UK poetry scene for over thirty-five years. He has published many full-length collections and chapbooks and performed his poems extensively throughout Great Britain. Tall Lighthouse Press has just reissued Goin’ Down Slow: Selected Poems 1885–2010. His last collection, Face from Pighog Press, was critically acclaimed. He has also published collections from Bloodaxe and Wrecking Ball Press. He lives and writes in Brighton where, until recently, he worked as a poetry tutor and Blues/Soul/Country DJ.
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Moon Jar by Didi Jackson (Poetry)
In her intimately compelling debut collection Moon Jar, Didi Jackson explores the life-altering and heart-rending loss of a husband to suicide. In an effort to understand this unforeseen and inexplicable act, she maps with immense candor the emotional difficulty of continuing her responsibility as a mother while attempting to regain a sense of normalcy. While grief never fully subsides, Jackson allows herself over time to rediscover love as she contends with the brutal and haunting grip of human trauma. These affirmative poems, precise and grace-begetting, exhibit an admirable self-devotion to healing and recovery that is metamorphic and cathartic. Turning to biblical narratives as well as seminal works of art by the likes of Hildegard of Bingen, Pablo Picasso, Sappho, Mark Rothko, Kazimir Malevich, Hieronymus Bosch, and Frédéric Chopin, she orchestrates a tableau of conversations around human suffering, the natural world, and impermanence. And like the Korean porcelain moon jar, these poems mark and celebrate the imperfection of existence. At once raw and vulnerable, Moon Jar shows lyric poetry to be a fundamental and permanent force for survival.