Sometimes you meet a young person, and you know you’re in the presence of talent. My friend, Olivia Tuck, is such a person. She read her poems over a few years at Poetry Swindon, and I marvelled at her presence even though she was young and shy. Olivia holds an audience, with poems that are troubling, fascinating, engaging. Her command of language is astonishing for one so young.
She excelled in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, then a Masters at UEA, and had her first pamphlet published, Things Only Borderlines Know.
Olivia is a Swindonian, parents in Wanborough, grandparents lived in Liddington. Remember her name: we’ll be hearing Olivia on the big stages in the coming years. Here are some lines from a poem Olivia wrote about her grandparents’ house “Downs Edge” – with a nod to them both, Gill and the late Alan Jefferies:
We kept coming for tea, even after we’d grown our fringes
and curves. The garden burned in autumn. Who can outstare
a marble-eyed stone deer? We tightrope-walked along the wall
to try, but I grazed my knee, and the days shrunk: the apples fell
with the clocks. Once, we visited after an October gale —
in storms, you’d promise the Downs would guard us, yet
the old yew had been wrestled to the ground. I wondered,
if a gust had done that to an ogress with four hundred rings,
what it might have done to girls unfurling, if it’d wanted to,
if it’d been angry enough. I’m told children only ask questions
if they know they’ll be able to shoulder the answers’ weight.
I didn’t speak.
Olivia’s pamphlet is available at https://blackrabbitpress.onlineweb.shop/Things_Only_Borderlines_Know_by_Olivia_Tuck/p6527519_19967326.aspx