Debut Poetry Collection


What readers are saying:

‘More than you were navigates the private and public legacy of grief, violence and trauma.  Poised between the spareness of the lyric and the complexity of narrative, the poems contained within these covers need to be read in one sitting.  They are painfully honest, full of wisdom and always beautifully observed.’ — Kim Moore, a Geoffrey Faber Prize Winner and author of The Art of Falling


‘More than you were is a lyrical, risky, moving depiction of the cross-currents swirling through a father-daughter relationship, and the love-work of bereavement. Christina Thatcher’s intense, honest elegies build a compassionate portrait of blood and history’s lessons, the damages of addiction and how poetry and memory can be both lacerating and healing in the same breath.’ — Robert Hambergeraward-winning poet and author of six collections 


‘This defiant, engrossing depiction of a father and a daughter makes for an extremely accomplished poetry collection. Not only is Thatcher far, far more than he was, but she also generously portrays him as he was in his entirety: bad, good, and all that came in-between.’ — Sophie Baggott, Wales Arts Review


‘The taut, terse poems of More than you were hold true to the promise of the book’s title. Poet Christina Thatcher builds an elegiac refuge of plain-spoken memories for a father whose drug abuse imprints her life with entrapments, betrayals and loss. Yet that is not all and all is not lost. The window through which his life is viewed opens onto the poet’s ever-widening horizon, which, in spite of the shadows, blazes with the bright light of gratitude for her father’s fierce love.’ — Carla Drysdale, author of Little Venus (Tightrope Books) and Inheritance  (Finishing Line Press)


‘An absolute gutpunch of a book. By which I mean that it tackles its subject matter – grief, coupled with and complicated by issues of addiction and family dysfunction – with incisiveness, empathy and a poetic perception that is as sharp and disciplined as it is feeling and skilful…Thatcher’s eye is impeccable for poetic incident and detail and her carefully weaned language and considered style throws this into beautiful and brilliant relief, even as Thatcher delves into the oddity, horror and warmth that can all accompany grief.’ — Rebecca Roy, Pushcart Prize Nominee 


‘In More than you were, Christina Thatcher’s precise, economical poems translate a complex father-daughter relationship, paradoxically delivering a rounded account of familial love and the impact of lost possibilities. Grief is documented in unflinching terms whilst the bereaved author finds novel ways to grow resilience in a raw world.’ — Claire Williamson, Programme Leader, MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, Metanoia Institute 


‘The music of More than you were sings from every page: generous – but never mawkish – in its sharing, the self-awareness, strength and humanity work like a welcoming; like a door opening onto experiences that spoke to me with honesty and tenderness. This is a brave and beautiful book and I feel wiser, and more kind, for having read it.’ — Lisa Matthews, former Royal Literary Fund Fellow and author of three poetry collections 


‘The poems in More than you were are brutally concise, often no more than several short lines or a single sentence, each standing on the page as spare and sharp as a lightning rod in a snow field. These poems are direct, honest and simple, made thoughtfully with regard to their function and form, creating an elegeaic, plainspoken style that lends a quiet intensity to Thatcher’s exploration of grief and addiction. Nothing is wasted, or superfluous: every single poem pared down to its ‘decisive moment’ (to borrow a phrase from Cartier-Bresson). Thatcher also understands intuitively that often we respond most powerfully to what is not being said or specified, and as such every single poem is given its own page (and never has the empty space around a poem ever carried quite so much emotional freight). Were Thatcher less of a storyteller, and had less of a story to tell, the poems would probably be too flimsy; as they are, they are meticulously studied, gutsy, deliberate, long-lingering aperçus of lost lives (not) lived. Some poets tell it slant – Thatcher trues the slant and sharpens her pencil with it.’ — Will Barrett, The Poetry School