Some books are almost unbearably hard to read; in their honesty, or their starkness, or their desolation or their loss. I feel that unblinking honesty in some of John West’s writing, and found it here too in Lorraine McGuigan’s book What the Body Remembers, one of the pile of Five Islands Press Books I received a week or so ago.
This is a book about loss and absence and a lack of connection that shapes a life. Robyn Rowland calls it ‘intimate and shocking’ and that’s it exactly. That this is a debut collection is quite remarkable. It didn’t give me any pleasure reading it; but these are strangely disturbingly beautiful poems at times.
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