Tackling the loss of the poet’s mother – as well as themes of motherhood, birth, death and marriage – this deeply poignant collection explores how we grieve and remember those we love. Simmonds’ continues to write through the prism of her faith, offering insights and wisdom on the circuit of life, of life’s endings, and the promise of reconciliation.
‘In poems that are searching, though not solemn, Kathryn Simmonds is attentive to the everyday while conveying the unspoken and the mysteries of life and death with which we live. In “The Night I Died”, she reveals astonishingly: “I touched the cavity / where my heart had been, white ceramic like a soap dish splashed with blood”. A deeply thoughtful and captivating collection.’ —Moniza Alvi
‘Simmonds incorporates life’s bits and bobs into her poetry: changing mats, Yellow Pages, a jumbo marker. But what raises her book above the average — it has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection — is a desire to bring the spiritual into the quotidian. Christ (renamed Dave) strolls down the King's Road in low-slung jeans and angels make several appearances.’ —Stephen Knight, Independent
‘Simmonds chillingly demonstrates how the intricacies of 21st century life both obscure our view of impending doom and protect us from thinking about it. The difficulties of living are also key to the book’s central section, 20 short poems called ‘Life Coach Variations’, which are a wry look at the irony of anyone thinking they have life licked: the life coach himself struggles on, not really knowing how to manage his own life.’ —Cato Pedder, Write Out Loud
‘The Visitations is a collection of beautifully made poems invigorated by a special kind of wit… Simmonds’s dexterity, comic-seriousness and assuredness of touch are amply demonstrated.’ —The Poetry Review
‘This playful and knowing first collection is fuelled throughout by a strong sense of lyricism.’ —The Guardian
‘Quirky, witty, moving Kathryn Simmonds’ gift is to find joy and beauty in unexpected places. She invests the everyday world with an extraordinary luminosity.’ —Jackie Kay
‘An expansive imagination, a wide formal range, wit and humanity – Sunday at the Skin Laundrette is a remarkable debut.’ —Michael Symmons Roberts