Today I’m delighted to return to the poetic form and host today’s stop on the blog tour for The Sea Refuse No River by Bethany Rivers.
The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it’s like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life
In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys.
To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck, and in this collection,
Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’
I love the way Bethany plays with words and structure throughout the entire book to capture moment and emotion. Each poem perfectly unique. Her poetry is beautiful, powerful and at times heart wrenching and a perfect example of the healing power of poetry.
That said, a daughter left
without a father, that portrait of grief
never framed, gravity
sucks inwards times, blackness, the end
of a line. The silence
between stars is like the distance
an excerpt taken from You & I are always the same distance
Now I usually prefer to read poetry in print form – I am a little strange in that I like to feel the words on the paper too. So I did worry that I wouldn’t connect as well with the eBook version that I received to review. However, this was not a problem at all with this collection. Bethany’s words did all the work for me and I was pulled in to her journey and touched by her use of language. Within this collection we explore the effects of loss not only to Bethany but to those around her and in the world we live in today. Within and In all the children came out, in particular look at the world at large and asks questions of suffering elsewhere. Yet despite the serious subject matter; through the despair, frustration and great sadness there is a spark of hope that shines through. Our pain and loss become part of us but poetry can help heal the wounds and reminds us that we are never alone in our suffering.
One of my favourite poems (there were many) is February, not only does it capture that bleak time between winter and spring but also the period of darkness between grief and, I don’t want to say healing but perhaps the beginning of the road to healing. Another is Seven full stops, it’s absolutely fascinating and a wonderful poem to end the collection on. Interestingly there is not one full stop used.
It really is an incredibly fascinating, well written and stunning collection and I can see myself revisiting it many times and also sharing it with my pupils in the Library at school.
Thank so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.
About the author
Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.