My pamphlet Smithereens, which will be published by 4Word at the beginning of April now has a cover and is available to pre-order on the books page of this site.
I will be launching the pamphlet along with Ruth Aylett's Pretty in Pink via Zoom on Friday 19 March at 7PM. If you'd like to attend the launch, you can book a ticket here and you can request an open mic reading slot by Emailing Ruth. If you're interested but can't make that, there will be a further launch event in April, date to be announced.
Smithereens is the story a friendship between me and 'A' that lasted for more than forty years. It began at school, before we were teenagers and ended with the untimely death of ‘A’ in 2017. Here's one of the poems from the pamphlet, using the 'duplex' form introduced by American poet Jericho Brown:
Duplex for A
After Jericho Brown
Thirst isn’t thirst if it can be quenched.
You put five-thousand miles between us.
When you put five-thousand miles between us
my stories of you grew truer than fact.
The world you chose wove truth out of facts.
You loved ideas more than the body.
To flesh her idea, she used your body.
It took on a life beyond her, beyond you.
You never thought that life was beyond you,
to reach for it now, you needed help.
You had to reach for whatever helped.
Oblivion, knowledge – sides of a coin.
Sides of a coin – knowledge, oblivion.
Your thirst was real. It couldn’t be quenched.
Here is what people have said about Smithereens:
“Written with the wisdom of hindsight and shot through with real tenderness and love, these poems tell the story of a friendship between two men which stretches across a lifetime and around the world. The pamphlet’s narrative arc is as compelling as a novel, and each individual poem is that rare thing – a true moment of musicality and lyricism.”
“Smithereens explores the loss of a long male friendship, its elegies fretting restlessly backwards and forwards through time and the stages of grief. These are poems bursting with the talk that “we hadn’t needed to say / for forty-odd years” – intimate, urgent and affecting, private gifts to the dead which speak powerfully to the living. This is a moving, unusual and beautiful collection of poems.”
“Farren’s poems are snap shots, an album of words which capture the moments of a lifelong friendship and the slow decline, the long-loss of a friend, the distance of an ocean away. Farren has a deft touch; the poems are sensitive, but not sentimental, with a solid skeleton of anger but more importantly, love.”