In September 2017, Helen Calcutt’s brother Matthew took his own life. He was 40 years old.
‘… the phone rang / and when I answered it / you’d killed / yourself, and that was the start / of you being dead.’
This is the starting point of an astonishing new pamphlet of poems by Helen Calcutt. At times harrowing; at others hopeful – always deeply felt and beautifully realised. These poems display the poise and precision of a poet already at the height of her powers, writing the un-writable, weaving the terrible into something relatable and filled with the light of understanding.
How do we survive the tumultuous presence of grief? How does the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide affect, our identity, our creativity, and our ability to love? How – in a world shattered by incomparable change and severe loss – do we build a life from the wreckage? Because we do.
Somehow, we do.
Helen appeared at the first Verve Festival and has workshopped at it too. She is also on the advisory board for Verve Poetry Press.
Date: 17th September 2020
Extent: 32 pp