Things being so urgent, when you
open a book its leaves should take you
back to the forest they came from …
So opens the first poem in Grace Wells’ The Church of the Love of the World, a book that begs us to “only connect” as it explores our individual roles – and the role of poetry itself – in these troubling times.
At once sure-footed and curious, optimistic and on the brink of despair, as well as stand-out lyric moments, the book features a number of longer poems and sequences, among them the extraordinary ‘She Gathers the Wild Grasses’ which explores our very real dependence on grasses, the evolution of society itself made possible by its contribution. As elsewhere, memory, myth, anecdote and hands-on experience are all woven together to produce, among other things, “my own dough – // something forever illiterate / and welcome / in signing each crust with my mark”.
The Church of the Love of the World is a powerful and passionate new book, confirming the promise of Wells’ previous collection, described in Poetry Ireland Review as “a book that enlarges the possibilities of poetry”.