Valerie Bence’s latest poetry pamphlet is a testament to ordinary lives, and a meditation on grandmothers. Part memoir, part family history, Overlap is a series of vivid vignettes from the poet’s childhood, courtship, motherhood and grandmotherhood, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.
Bence’s grandmothers Winifred and Harriet are at the heart of this book. She reflects on their hardy, steadfast lives as she too becomes a grandmother, in very different times. Stranded from her family in the Covid-19 pandemic, the poet conjures up their ghosts, walks in their footsteps and – sometimes – feels herself become them.
More from Valerie Bence
Read ‘Visiting Oceans’ in Bare Fiction.
Read ‘After Adlestrop (for Helen Thomas)’ on the Poetry School website.
Praise for Overlap
‘That Bence had her first successes later in life has perhaps impacted how the writer deals with memory and displays perspicacity. Bence’s writing is always canny, attentive, and imbued with high emotion.’ Alan Parry, The Broken Spine