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Apology for Absence

Apology for Absence

by Julia Darling

Julia Darling's first book, Sudden Collapses in Public Places (which was awarded a Poetry Book Society Recommendation), grew from her experiences of being treated for advanced breast cancer; she was able to employ poetic images which helped her see things in a fresh way, pictures and metaphors that could almost be used as 'visualisations'.

Without poems, my journey through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the general ups and downs of illness, would have been unthinkable... In my case, I chose to imagine my body as a house, and wrote many poems during my treatment about 'living in the new extension' or about my fears. Sudden Collapses helped me to step out of the difficult present and to use my imagination to be somewhere else.

Her second collection was completed a little over a year later, and looks at the world beyond the hospital, although still from the view-point of a cancer patient in the advanced stages of the illness. The themes are familiar, but here she writes with a wider perspective, a deeper understanding, which reach out to the heart of the human condition and the greater mysteries of life, albeit in an understated way. This is a powerful and deeply affecting book, completely unsentimental yet charged with emotion — indeed, one of those rare books that have a profound and lasting effect.

The poems... crackle with joy in living and loving...amused, inquisitive and graceful...

The Independent, April 2005

...bittersweet is what this collection does, pretty well perfectly, the kind of writing which restores your faith in poetry, and all its glory.

Orbis 133

60 pages
Published September 2004
ISBN 1-904614-12-4
Published September 2004

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