Susan Jordan is the new Featured Writer with her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, published by Indigo Dreams. It was delightful to hear Susan read some of her poems in Exeter at Uncut Poets last month, I think it was. I was particularly impressed with ‘Gertrude by Alice’ with its witty refrain She was a genius, you know. I think we all gasped! The poems about family members misusing words are humorous as well as being poignant. Susan has this gift for probing insights delivered with irony and tenderness at the same time. She creates atmosphere with a few words, focuses on detail on something someone says to reveal hidden truths.
….the front door loomed incomprehensibly blue
Its smell of polish lingering like stale cake
These poems always know when to finish and you hear their quiet notes falling away so you need to read this book slowly and carefully as its effortless-looking craft can slip by:
‘Losing you now melts me back there
a pool that won’t be mopped away
and soon begins to freeze again.’
‘To the dead the hours are nothing’ she writes in another and there is admittedly a lot of death in this book but I feel those poems are always full of life and compassion, often revivifying the person giving us something of their essence.
I’ve known Susan for some years, meeting her first at a writing day in East Devon when I suppose we were thinking about novel writing. It’s really nice to see that she is a very happy and busy poet (and with a new cat) these days. There are more of her poems on Clear Poetry where she does that clever oh-so ordinary voice and then takes you somewhere completely unexpected. And then there is this from Three Drops in a Cauldron.
This is a great book for winter reading by the fire. Simon Williams succinctly summed it up like this:
“Susan Jordan conjures scenes from childhood that bring you in and seat you at the family’s table. There’s a lot of grief in this finely worked collection, but it’s tempered with an inner humanity. A rich book, which rewards a careful reading.”