Hannah Linden

When novels are written in the first person, readers do not assume that the author is the narrator. It’s not like that with poetry. The default is the poet writing about the self, which requires honesty and bravery. The love poem is wonderful, the break-up poem can be cruel, ragged relationships are sensitive territory. There is danger in the highs and the lows.

It might be safer writing about trees and flowers as they don’t bite back. I don’t, because people fascinate me. It’s the same with Hannah Linden, my friend, who has just published a wonderful pamphlet, “The Beautiful Open Sky” (V Press).

Hannah helped with the Poetry Swindon Festival for many years. We shared privacies as you do. Hannah’s privacies have now morphed into poems – a tough childhood when parents split, father died, mother remarried to a man who disliked Hannah. It’s been a roller-coaster, challenge after challenge. Hannah endured, never bent and her poems are a testimony to the positive.

Several poems stayed with me. This one about her mother’s solution to an argument:

I felt Mum’s silence in the car,

the negative pull until I was a black hole

sucking everything into my void,

except her. She sat on the edge of Nan’s

spare bed. You will never come home again.

I am a half-circle. I am an apple falling

from the tree.

And the positivity of these lines in another poem:

You have to keep faith in the kindness of other people who

are still strangers

but who might become makers of a draught of air that is the difference

between success and a crash.

Don’t think of the mangled bones at the bottom of the mountain. Think

of the beautiful open sky.

To purchase Hannah’s pamphlet (£7:99 including UK P&P) message her: https://twitter.com/hannahl1n


First published in Swindon Link

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