Kate Hendry is a writer, teacher and editor. She was reader in residence at the National Library of Scotland in 2013-14 and currently runs the ‘Nothing But the Poem’ reading groups at the Scottish Poetry Library.
Her debut collection considers family relationships from two sides—first as a child of divorced parents, then as wife and mother with children of her own.
Emotive and uncompromising, these poems counter the bleakness of loss with disarming tenderness, honesty and humour.
From ‘Before A and B’
[. . . ] Finding Dr Faustus would be like
me going back to when there was only one home
and the record collection hadn’t been divided and the cellar
was stacked with too many bottles of undrinkable 1976
home-made wine because there was a glut of parsnips that year.
It wouldn’t be like Walter Greg’s attempt after the war
to rebuild Doctor Faustus, taking the best bits from A and B,
leaving out the gratuitous jokes, trying to make something
beautiful and dramatic. One man’s fantasy—no one reads it now.
And it wouldn’t be like Greg’s parallel text, with A and B
sitting opposite each other, A holding its tongue while B starts
on a new point, leaving the reader waiting (for one to begin,
for the other to stop) and struggling to match up lines
that never, after the opening scene, quite agree
and even when the characters are doing the same thing
on both pages their words are different, like they’re yelling
at each other and you can no longer hear either of them
let alone yourself, and you almost feel grateful for the gaps,
the blanks, page after page of emptiness.