A book of ingredients
A recipe for tenderness
A small strip of wonder
A burst of chaos and creation
Measured in flour, raisins, slivered almonds
And a handful of dirt
Of star-crushed birds
Filled with words
Robins, rainbows, starfish trails
more vivid and alive
than its prior occupants
Let heat transform you
Then let go
Craig Wedren, Musician, Composer
The poetry of grief is often fragile, holed by loss. Yerem‘s work is the tree in the flash flood that stays upright. Her poems are steeped in the baffle of wonder and persistence – and nourished by the same source that batters, to burst forth spring leaves, berries, birds, hopeful tomatoes, bedecked with fairy lights, shading children and dogs, moments of memory and surely of future-despite, each one brighter for the devastation. This collection is a tender and raw tribute to her father, and the gap of him is painted in every colour of ache by Yerem’s skill for new ways to say missing:
…we drove towards your body,
to that uncluttered, bright space which enclosed
your darkness in those last, long years…
… preparing for the first spring
my father will not see.
Yet it is far more – a making-sense of how to stay standing, deeply and unfairly alive, full of sway, waving every flag that spells out ‘how to love this world‘ the missing one so clearly handed her. Yerem’s unique voice has profoundly strong roots – this is a poet writing from the very middle of the deluge of feeling, gathering to herself all that persists between reminders that there is an end for all of us, but nothing takes what we give:
everyone dies but
not everyone dies right?
Yerem’s skill is urgent and fresh, her artful, often impish cadence invites you to dance with her despite every hurt. If you’ve realised grief is what it costs us to love, if you know it’s always worth the price, this beautiful first collection from a poet-to-watch, one who writes on the darkest road with pure sunshine, is for you:
every once in a while
someone will see all your darkness
and help you light it up.
Ankh Spice, Poet, co-editor Ice Floe Press)
Annick Yerem writes with such beauty, strength and surprising turns of language about familial love and loss. These are poems to read aloud, learn by heart and share with those we hold dear.”
Tanya Shadrick, Artist& Writer, The Cure For Sleep
Here, Annick Yerem shares her efforts to make sense of the world after her father’s death. In this liturgy of poems, Yerem picks at the scars left by the work of grieving for the not-yet-dead, examines the surprising shapes that hold the fragility of our most precious relationships, and pins down the fragments we clutch to keep our dead with us. In this collection, love is translated through the fascination of an animal – the overwhelm of the emotion kept at a safe remove by its broken journey but left no less powerful for it. These poems look unflinchingly at how our place in the world shifts following the death of those who made us, the touchstone of nature giving foundation to that loss.
This is a beautiful, affecting work which will be felt by all who have ever felt grief.
Giovanna MacKenna, Poet, How the Heart can Falter