How to Carry Fire was born from the ashes of family addiction. Beginning with the burning down of her childhood home, Thatcher explores how fire can both destroy and cleanse. Her work recognises embers everywhere: in farmhouses, heroin needles, poisonous salamanders.
Thatcher reveals how fire is internalised and disclosed through anxiety, addiction, passion and love. Underneath and among the flames runs the American and Welsh landscapes – locations which, like fire itself, offer up experiences which mesmerise, burn and purify. This poignant second collection reminds us of how the most dangerous and volatile fires can forge us – even long after the flames have died down.
Praise for How to Carry Fire
‘A father is lost, a brother is swept up into opiates, a new life begins across an ocean, a marriage blossoms – How to Carry Fire journeys from eastern Pennsylvania to Cardiff, Wales in an intimate, steady-hearted, and welcomed testament to the physical, as well as emotional, distances that are so often necessary to make sense of our pasts and free up our futures.’ — William Brewer
‘These poems burn with the heat of creative paradox: a past that evokes nostalgia and pain; loved ones who are heroes and victims; a sense of self that is strong and vulnerable. Each poem is a tongue of flame that sears and cleanses. Thatcher’s stunning second collection blazes a trail through the agonies and joys of human relationships in a voice that is terse, tense and urgent.’ — Robert Walton
When David Thatcher died of a drug overdose in America, his daughter wrote to understand what came after. The result is a striking collection of poetry which explores addiction, family politics, childhood memories and grief.
The short, sharp poems home in on situations to reveal their complex relationship and the challenges she faced after losing him. Thatcher weaves the darkest memories – the murder of pets, the burning down of a childhood home, the blood stains on white tiles – with ones which betray a tenderness and love.
A brave debut, More than you were, explores what it means to lose a father to an addiction and live on.
Praise for More than you were
‘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