The Presence of Absence (Paperback)

The Presence of Absence By Richard Bell Cover Image
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"In this sequence of poems, accomplished poet Richard Bell pays homage to his wife of many years, who died of cancer. In doing so, he explores the process of grieving, finding it to be inseparable from memory and, ultimately, from love. Memories and feelings both have a kind of autonomy; they surface unpredictably, according to their own rhythms; they are not in the control of the poet, who observes, suffers, recalls and threads lines together. Yet while they are partially detached from the poet's will, memories and feelings inform a new sense of identity. Inevitably, this involves a radically altered sense of time: time has become newly precious, since a central relationship has been curtailed by it, yet that relationship continues timelessly. Just as the emotional effect of the book is more than the sum of its poem parts, so the sustained love of the poet's life is discovered to be more than his own feelings and memories and the sense of a shared life: 'There is a you and me/that goes beyond/what is' ('Grief is just another feeling'). Indeed, one of the book's great strengths is the portrayal of the lively personality of the poet's wife - her nervousness, good humour, wit and joie de vivre. Many of the poems address her, bringing the realisation that the poet alone is now the repository of shared memories: 'Just drying my hands/on your towel: I am you now/and you can be me' ('Seven Senryū'). The repeated sense of absence gives rise to a new set of relations, marked by new permissions, such as the interpolation of Richard's recollections in poetry into the young Sue's diary. Powerful physical attraction dominates, poignantly, yet in the end the couple cannot be separated: 'I am as much of you/as I am of me. Thanks./R.' ('Gratitude'). These are poems not only for the bereaved but for anyone who has ever loved." - Carolyn Masel, author of Moorings

Product Details
ISBN: 9781761094125
ISBN-10: 1761094122
Publisher: Ginninderra Press
Publication Date: November 9th, 2022
Pages: 76
Language: English
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