The Half-life of Fathers is my debut poetry publication, half way between pamphlet and full collection, published by Pighog in November 2013. http://www.pighog.co.uk/titles/the-half-life-of-fathers.html It opens with the poem that won the 2013 Troubadour International Poetry prize:
Immensi tremor oceani
i m John O’Leary
They say it takes a wave
three days, travelling east,
Newfoundland to Allihies.
They say a wave is the child
of the wind, a perturbation
of water’s equilibrium.
They say a wave marches
on its stomach.
They say a wave is home to
Mother Carey’s chickens – Mater
Cara – who shelter in the lee,
dancing on the water’s surface,
never to return to land once
they have mastered the art of flight.
Praise for The Half-life of Fathers
‘A gift for breathtaking associative leaps combined with a deep humanity marks Vanessa Gebbie as outstanding. The prize-winning poem “Immensi tremor oceani” is a prime example, yet her pyrotechnics are always emotionally grounded. Whether the subject is the sea, war veterans, or a dying father, the poems in this debut “sing constellations to their rest”.’
‘In this astonishing debut, Vanessa Gebbie’s poetry is fully engaged with the physical world – poems full of exhilarating sound-play and dazzling visual imagery. Unsentimental, compassionate, nuanced, this is a writer who invites language to dance and sing. Many of these poems bear witness to the complexities and frustrations of ageing, but never stop being about love.’
‘Vanessa Gebbie’s poems create small worlds in a few well-chosen images that surprise but interlock like scenes in a film. Through her portraits of her father, the series of war poems and through forgotten landscapes, she writes beautifully of absence, of loss, and of the things we can’t let go.”
The Inflectionist – http://theinflectionistreview.com/2014/01/12/vanessa-gebbie-the-half-life-of-fathers-a-poetry-review/