Welcome to Halfman, Halfbook for my stop on the Blog Tour for To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre by Victoria Bennet and published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.
About the Book
These poems are an intimate meditation on love and loss, told by a daughter as she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. The poet invites the reader to be witness to the private moments of dying, from the physical reality of caregiving through to the alchemy of death, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief.
Honest, unsentimental, and quietly uplifting.
About the Author
Victoria Bennett founded Wild Women Press in 1999 and has spent the last 21 years facilitating creative experiences and curating platforms for women to share ideas, stories, inspirations and actions for positive change, including the global #WildWomanWeb movement and #WildWomanGamer. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (2002). Previous awards include the Northern Debut Award for non-fiction (2020), the Mother’s Milk Writing Prize (2017), The Writing Platform Digital Literature Bursary (2015), Northern Promise Award for Poetry (2002), and the Waterhouse Award for Poetry (2002).
Her work-in-progress memoir, ‘All My Wild Mothers’, was long-listed for the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019 and the Penguin #WriteNow2020 programme.
Victoria is currently undertaking her MRes in Creative Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands (Shetland), exploring narratives of absence within landscapes of personal and ecological loss. She is a director of The Wizard and The Wyld Ltd, creating immersive playable poetry within video-game platforms. A frequent digital collaborator, she interested in how poetry and new technologies can be used to create meaningful and authentic narratives.
Many people have experienced loss of some kind or another in the past year and a half. Whether that is the loss of some freedoms that we have taken for granted up until now or a loss of close contact with family or the death of a loved one, it has not been an easy time.
Victoria Bennet poems in this collection are about her caring for her mother who is suffering from terminal mesothelioma. They are written with the full knowledge that her mother is going to die from her cancer and we as a reader can understand some of that emotional rollercoaster that she is going through.
I almost missed you leaving.
This is grief in its most raw form, her most intimate thoughts and feelings of the terror of losing someone so precious to her are written in these poems. And yet in amongst this intense emotional prose, there is still hope, a fundamental understanding that these feelings are always transitory, that life carries on, that death can give life.
She is not there any more, but there are still glimpses of her in shop windows and the scent of lily of the valley that brings memories that will never fade.
And the tides are not full of sorrow
But stones, singing:
A story yet to be told
There are very few books out there that have this raw visceral emotion that Bennet has managed to squeeze in this very slender collection. Each person’s grief is so very different and yet so similar. We cling to those things and memories that remind us of that person who is no longer here. Grief never leaves us, we may be able to compartmentalise it but there will always be that unexpected moment where it can unleash its full force on us again. I am not sure that I can say that I liked this book, but it is powerful, honest and a reminder that life continues after we lose someone so precious.
Three Favourite Poems
How To Watch Someone Die
There Is Always More To Lose
Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the blog tour
Buy this at your local independent bookshop. If you’re not sure where your nearest is then you can find one here
My thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for the copy of the book to read.
Follow Victoria on Twitter here
Her website is here