This is going to be different from the usual sort of review you write after reading work by someone you don’t know or have only heard of by repute. I came to Echolocation having worked with Becky, during 2014 under the Cinnamon Press mentor scheme, principally on her first collection, Empires of Clay. I did see some of the poems included in Echolocation but its creation came after we’d finished the mentorship. So with that declaration of interest out of the way, what should the reader make of the fifteen poems in Echolocation.
As the blurb says this is ‘an assured body of work… which does not succumb to sentimentality’.
At its heart is the theme of mothering in all its manifestations; being mothered as in Eucharist and Lullabies and it deals unflinchingly and without sentiment with being a single parent, infertility, fostering, adoption and illness. There are layers and layers to many of the poems and returning to some of them after having not read them for a while it is like reading them anew.
They are poems about what it is like to be human too, to be determined to keep going
and this she knows now, distinct ad the taste of brick dust
– she will never leave him
holy trinities of how the day before had been,
what we’d loved, and why.
It would be a pity for you to discount these poems because you’ve never been a mother or have no intention or possibility of being one. Do read them.