Grace Wells' When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things is that rare thing, a debut collection of poems that is at once firmly earthed in the real yet intimately connected to the mythic.
In poems of lyrical beauty and imaginative reach, Wells explores the complex world of familial relationships, from childhood exploits in the company of an older sister ("I leant upon the wisdom of her age"), through the difficulties and self-doubt of failed relationships ("What's left, when the father of your children / has throw a basket at you, hard, / upturned the kitchen table, / breaking all the china you possess?") to the refuge of supportive love and those moments when, even as the new life is being lived ("I see love travels faster than light"), those earlier ones are returned to and reclaimed or finally discarded to make room for something else.
Strength in times of hardship is found in the example of other women, in the community of artists and writers; and, despite the loneliness with which the title poem begins ("your heart a rusted camp bed, prized open") with the morning, and abandonment, comes nevertheless the consolation of "an imprint, which lingers" -
a suggestion of the power of faith and determination, no doubt, but also of the power of poetry to reveal the world.
Grace Wells was born in London in 1968. Formerly an independent television producer, she moved to Ireland in 1991. Her first book, Gyrfalcon (2002), a novel for children, won the Eilís Dillon Best Newcomer Bisto Award, and was an International White Ravens' Choice. Other publications for children include Ice-Dreams (2008) and One World, Our World (2009). Her short stories and poetry have been published widely and broadcast. She reviews Irish poetry for Contrary, the University of Chicago's online literary journal, is a freelance arts administrator, and teaches creative writing.