BOOK NEWS! – NEW RELEASE – ECHOES by ALAN PARRY
A Familial Journey
Memoir in poetry is often a reading of memoir striving to find its balance between tenderness and poignant sentimentality. Childhood is a special ‘memory space, often disrupted by experiences brought to bear by adulthood, none more compelling than becoming a parent oneself.
Living with, becoming a “late-life” carer, or being witness to the gradual disappearance through illness of a parent, however common to the ‘everyday’, is a particularly haunting and often,life-changing experience for loved ones and it will always be a significant and profoundly personal experience.
Alan Parry, who as a writer and publisher is not shy of bleak and desolate landscapes, steps boldy into a tender landscape of deeply personal reminiscence and memoir, in this slim collection of new poems and narrative. ECHOES, Poetic Letters, a timely collection in its honest and open exploration of familial relationships during those most challenging and testing of times; the illness and loss of loved ones. Myth, fantasy and memory intermingle with elements of nostalgia without an inclination toward mundane or sentimentality, allowing readers into a familiar, very recognisable space of love and loss.
Early Praise for ECHOES
If you’ve seen Alan Parry’s author photo and imagine, as I did before I met him – well, whatever you imagine, set it aside. This collection is at once delicate and robust, fragile and tough. Alan is an acute observer of humans, of nature, of urban life’s highlights and shadows. His writing, while spare, is far from simple – it is full of subtle colour and barely-expressed but deep emotion. The segue into fiction (or is it?) with Sylvie, set between two sections of almost fragmentary poems, is a new departure for him and works well, complementing the tone of what came before and what follows. This touching collection, which clearly shows the poet’s accelerating trajectory since Neon Ghosts, reminds us that, like his own author photo, appearances can deceive.– Mary Earnshaw author of A Wake of Vultures
A poem from the ECHOES
standing cheek by jowl
over the bathroom basin
father would squeeze scented, olive-green paste
into my palm
& then his own –
sharing the soft-bristled brush –
we would lather thick paste into
a light-footed, white foam
& cover our faces –
raw tap water
would run over his burnished blade
while i held
an upturned toothpaste tube –
& staring into the frameless mirror
we would scrape away our frothy beards
BEHIND THE SCENES With … Hosted by Marcelle Newbold
Continuing our Conversational Series, hosted by our own Marcelle Newbold, Alan discusses more about the experiences which shaped and influenced this collection.
” ECHOES is a masterfully written collection of poems that fill you with nostalgia, sensory images, and emotion-filled quiet. The collection flows with a cohesive narrative arc in it’s three-act structure and leaves you feeling a delicate, bittersweet understanding of loss and love. Favourites include: Pear-Shaped Sadness, Banana Bread & Removal. “
Elizabeth Kembell, Editor of ReSide
” This collection is at once delicate and robust, fragile and tough. Alan is an acute observer of humans, of nature, of urban life’s highlights and shadows. His writing, while spare, is far from simple – it is full of subtle colour and barely-expressed but deep emotion. “
Mary Earnshaw author of A Wake of Vultures
Poet Publisher Teacher
ALAN PARRY is a poet, playwright and poetry editor from Merseyside, England. He is an English Literature graduate and Lecturer in English. Alan enjoys gritty realism, open ends, miniature schnauzers and 60’s girl groups. He has previously had work published in a range of international magazines/e-zines/journals including the following: The Literary Mark Review, Visual Verse, Peach Velvet Magazine – Junk Drawer, Black Bough Poems, Panning for Poems, Bonnie and Crew, Marias At Sampaguitas, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Streetcake Magazine, Panopolyzine, Re-Side, Night Music Journal, Wide Eyes Publishing Salt and Vinegar Zine, Poetica, Porridge, 3 Moon Publishing, eighteenseventy, Dust Magazine, Nightingale and Sparrow, Ghost City Press and Dream Noir. He cites Alan Bennett, Jack Kerouac and James Joyce as inspiration. His debut collection, Neon Ghosts is available from The Broken Spine website. In 2021, Alan formed the collective The Southport Poets with Paul Robert Mullen. Mary Earnshaw and David Walshe. Their collective debut Belisama was released by Dreich in 2021.
Book Review Emma Lee’s Blog
June 8, 2022
“Echoes” explores the after-effects of grief on memories, both on the memories of the departed and memories of the time when they were alive and how these might be shaped by the actions of the person while they were still alive or feelings towards that person after their death. The collection is shaped into three acts. The opening act is called “Diagnosis” and the poem from which the act takes its title ends (all the poems are right aligned),
“Dad arrived, unannounced.
In the yard, stood on a stepladder;
between nettled snarls of the hedge trimmer;
“Your Granddad’s not well;
he doesn’t have long.“
In the midst of an ordinary task, trimming the hedge, dad arrives with extraordinary news, which he says without any preamble or context or attempt to soften the blow. The son is big enough to manage a hedge trimmer but dad doesn’t think to offer some reassurance or acknowledge the son’s feelings about what he’s just been told. It’s a short, matter of fact delivery that doesn’t invite responses and suggests this isn’t a family that talks about feelings. This is echoed in “Recalibrate” where the observation of the widow comments, “nothing/ interrupted the steady flow of/ damson jam and knitted jumpers”. Grandmother’s busyness seems to be a coping mechanism, a means of reassuring herself that she is still useful and can still provide for others. “Shaving” returns to the father and son relationship as they stand side by side, “& staring into the frameless mirror/ we would scrape away our frothy beards”. A lack of frame on the mirror suggests a lack of boundaries, but the act of shaving is a silent one, each so absorbed or pretending to be absorbed in the business of shaving that, even with the mask of shaving cream removed, no one speaks. Feelings are bottled up.
Rare Swan Press. All Rights Reserved. 2011 – 2022