… like a passenger hovering
above a glittering city in a holding pattern,
waiting for clearance. I walk out on the street
and feel warm rain like permission on my face.
From the opening poem of Maggie Shapley’s first collection Proof, we know we are in the company of a thoughtful, sometimes restless, poet. Here, in explorations of childhood and family, memory and loss, belonging and dislocation, we find every word conveying a powerful sense of lived encounters and experience. This is poetry characterised by close observation, a restrained wit and a fine precision of language.
‘These are subtle, telling poems that speak with a disarming directness while suggesting complex situations. Maggie Shapley is alive to nuance and feeling in her poems, taking the reader across continents, and into private moments and rooms. Her evocations of childhood and adulthood are equally compelling, as are her understandings of human solitariness and intimacy. These poems explore many puzzles and incongruities of experience along with the centrality of thought and feeling to human identity’ – Paul Hetherington
From the Afterword:
As an archivist I have a professional obsession with evidence and a forensic attention to detail, particularly to the meaning and placement of words. It was only in my forties that I started to tame and reconstruct my words into poetry. My poems may sometimes read as autobiography, but for me, poetry is fiction, although there is always a germ of truth—a starting point in my life from which the words begin their journey.