Loss and memory. The poems of the first section of Leeanne Quinn’s debut collection, Before You, explore the intimacies of a sibling relationship, and revisit it from a distance travelled since, where new experience is “the earth's irreproachable / response to your absence”. Pain is evoked, sensed never far from the surface, but the telling remains oblique, the particulars refusing a simple summary or conclusion.
Life goes on, in what one of the poems in the second section calls “this awful business of living”, a variant on a phrase by Elizabeth Bishop whose letters, in counterpoint to the book’s first section, prompt and provide an external departure point and reference.
"These are intimate and finely-tuned lyrics, observant of subjective states and patterns of shared experience… a debut of considerable depth and maturity."
—Lucy Collins, The Stinging Fly
5.5" x 8.5", 67 pp