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This, Also, Is Mercy

ISBN 978-0-9954529-5-4
Cover Art: Teresa Godfrey

This, Also, Is Mercy begins with a moving and wonderfully detailed poem about the Titanic. One thinks one knows where that particular journey will end up, but Teresa Godfrey’s poems are never predictable, and ‘Omen’ sets us off on a voyage into the surprising and marvellous. Before the book ends with ‘Covid Planting’, a poem that perfectly sums up 2020, we’re offered hard-hitting pieces, followed by a sequence of superb love poems and some treks through northern dreamscapes that move with cinematic deftness. There’s also a self-portrait that might not even be of the author, a little masterpiece of ekphrastic art. Energetic, caring, and wildly inventive, these are poems of a high order indeed.                                                                                                         Theodore Deppe

This, Also, Is Mercy is a meditation on connections. Teresa Godfrey knows that it is details that bring meaning to moments, and she describes them in elegant, musical language. The collection arcs through time, beginning with a (fortunately) failed emigration, and becomes a meditation on what stays. In times of violence, Godfrey finds domestic symbols of resilience: ‘All the women back then / kept pins for fixing, / fastening, securing, / holding their families together.’ She demands that we not avert our eyes from the world's horrors. At the same time, she shows us the delight and beauty in knowing, through deep connection, a natural landscape ‘…so familiar / I'd never thought before to ask its name.’ Like ‘The Enniskillen to Belfast Bus’, these poems will transport you. 

Chryss Yost


Teresa Godfrey’s poems come at you direct and spare. There is just enough and no more to let you into the moment, the experience, and then set the imagination resonating with the ramifications of something that happened. Or didn’t happen, as in the remarkable opening poem ‘Omen’. This leads on to a series of sensitive and insightful poems drawn from childhood with an unsentimental immediacy: ‘The wheaten bread / and jam turning  /in my stomach / as I stood closer to him / than I had ever dared.’ (‘My First Corpse’). With an eye for graphic detail, the poet can come at a thing sideways and send us headlong into a shared history, as in her deeply poignant poem in memory of Jean McConville, a humane, essentially feminist perspective, a voice that is both empathetic and challenging. To write like this you need to have travelled some distance in understanding yourself and language, so that you can grace the page, not just with the distillation of what you have gleaned of life, but in a way that is in itself ‘a tender beauty’.                                  

Ruth Carr

Blue Nib Chapbook 5

ISBN 9781916154568
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