Karen Dennison and Counting Rain

Karen Dennison is the first of this new year’s Featured Writers. I first met Karen on Bill Greenwell’s Poetry Clinic so we go back a long way and we first met in person at the launch of Bill Greenwell’s collection, Ringers at the Poetry Café.  It is always fun to meet virtual friends and of course after doing poetry clinics with Bill you always feel you have been through the mill together so there is a particular bond.  (oops, sorry, Bill, but mills are good things to go through!)

Anyway, I love Karen’s book Counting Rain (published by Indigo Dreams who are publishing so many great writers these days). It is like looking into a pool of fresh water where you see things you didn’t know were there, but you realise then you did but somehow hadn’t noticed. Each poem is pitch perfect and the collection never flags in its clarity and freshness. It is a book to keep beside your bed to enrich your own life and your dreams.

Bill Greenwell said this about it:  Karen Dennison’s first collection, Counting Rain, is a quiet and moving series of poems, in which the most recurrent theme is the loss of childhood, and the way it lodges in the memory. ‘Here’ she writes, ‘are the rooms of our childhood,/ the walls where we wrote our names.’ This is a skilful, perfectly disarming series of pieces, in which disquiet and tension lie just beneath the surface, held there carefully while the writer investigates moments of loss, love, discovery – the whole collection is like a stealthy and imaginative search for the way the past and present impact upon one another. Its timing and its imagery are exceptionally exact: this is a life that we recognise, in which the writer uses her own experience to make us think about our own. It’s wonderful – a genuine journey, trodden and re-trodden, one that’s a privilege to share.

I am going to give you another poem from the collection as I don’t think one is enough. I have lots of favourites especially Wrinkles and That Christmas but here is the title poem which unusually is second last in the book.

Counting Rain

She kneels at the window.
Each splash is a dull surrender,
a colourless dawning.
She seeks a pattern
in the chaos of grey,
traces with her finger a languid cross.
She starts to count but her eyes
roll down the pane, following
the jagged prayer of a single drop.
As it reaches its unanswered end,
she lifts her face to a godless sky,
and begins from one again.

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About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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4 Responses to Karen Dennison and Counting Rain

  1. Great to see this featured – definitely a book for the bedside table. It’s certainly on mine. I always enjoy Karen’s writing and am sure this will be the first of many works from her.

  2. Glad you agree, Valerie and let’s hope she is working on one!!!!!

  3. E.E. Nobbs says:

    I am so pleased to see that you’ve featured Karen & her “Counting Rain”. It’s one of my favourite poetry books, and I keep in within easy reach at home. I have always loved that “Moon Landing” poem, so I’m pleased to see it here (at your Featured Writers page). And I am also very tickled to see the other two poems that are there – the magic & sadness of memory in “Sleight of Hand”… and it was my first chance to read the wonderful adventures of “Wayfaring” – which I know will stick with me 🙂

  4. Glad it pleases you so much, Elly. I liked your post about your collaboration with Karen v much too, as well as your contribution to the Book of Sand.

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