My new pamphlet has apparently arrived from the printers and is now alive and out in the world. This, of course, only comes to pass when someone opens the book and reads it! I am both pleased and very nervous about this project.
You can get it here from Cinnamon (or from me). £4.99
The title is a phrase from one of my mother’s letters and you will see why I chose this when you read what it’s about. I wrote all these poems when I was on the Hawthornden Castle writing retreat in Feb, (almost this time last year) and not long before my own diagnosis in the middle of 2016. The writing of these poems helped me get through my own experience of cancer.
This is what’s on the back of the book:
Rebecca Gethin’s mother died when she was two. It was a tragic, unexpected death from lung cancer. At the age of 32, she left two small children and a husband to fumble their way through grief and shock. Half a century later, a handful of brief letters unexpectedly emerged, written by the dying woman to her mother and sister. In these poems that woman’s voice — facing death and loss — is heard again, and her daughter replies.
extremely moving…compelling…heart-rending Helena Nelson
Hope Edelman in her seminal book, ‘Motherless Daughters, the Legacy of Loss’ says: ‘When a mother dies, a daughter’s mourning never completely ends.’ Certainly the plethora of poems on mother-loss is evidence of this. It is Gethin’s distillation of her material that sets her poems apart, causes them to ring with the truth of this statement. She notes that the child she was ‘is still in the room’ (The visit) ‘more than sixty years later.’ Inhabiting her mother’s voice through judiciously placed fragments of found letters, each detail is fitted into place like a piece in the rich mosaic of a short life lived lovingly. The effect is enhanced through Gethin’s characteristic use of naturalistic imagery: a mole becomes the forbidden word ‘want’ burrowing out of its winding passages’, creating ‘want-hills.’ A laburnum tree dangles its golden flames at sunset…Rooks flock ‘to haunt the trees at dusk.’ It is all there, painstakingly crafted, distilled to its finest essence. Wendy Klein
These are brave, honest and deeply touching poems, and in them Rebecca Gethin has achieved a remarkable portrait of the mother she mourns. Gill McEvoy
Thank you for reading thus far!