Fred D’Aguiar’s extremely personal yet Universal pamphlet on the loss of his dear friend Grace has made it into the Times Literary Supplement!
In fact it’s the first poetry pamphlet discussed in the article and it is a deservedly glowing description of it
Especially weird as it wasnt actually shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards – the author of the article obviously thought it should have been!
Anyway I am so proud that Fair Acre Press has had the opportunity to publish Fred D’Aguair – – plus – be in TLS! Wheee!
This is what the article says about Grace Notes:
Constituting no fewer than five pages and no more than thirty-six, the poetry pamphlet is a chamber, rather than a symphony, orchestra. It is a private reading or a tiny art show, and often suggests a larger project in embryo. Its joys for the reader are plain: the pamphlet is a transitory (they never quite survive the way “proper” books do) intellectual and artistic labora- tory where one might see either the rise of fresh talent or an established name attempting some- thing new.
Fred D’Aguiar’s Grace Notes (Fair Acre Press, £7.50) is a good example of the latter. Here, the British-Guyanese poet, novelist and playwright fol- lows up one of his strongest collections in years, Letters to America (2020), and his affecting memoir Year of Plagues (2021; TLS, October 22, 2021), with a series of twenty moving lyrics about, and dedi- cated to, his recently deceased friend Grace Theri- ault. D’Aguiar’s sinfonietta isn’t merely a chronicle of loss (“We miss you every day. / We wonder at all times / how you would view some / thing that happens without / you here with us to see it”); it is also a bravely light-hearted portrait of how life crumbles around somebody headed inexorably towards their end. When the author recalls Grace’s beloved piano, on which she once played works by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček, he also recalls how she was forced to give up playing “for the last few” of her years. Grace Notes is also a universalist prayer: “make death promissory, not final”, the author writes, as he describes the gates of Heaven, where
the path twists into a field of light
where the laws of physics fail you
as you look for Grace, without looking, [should there be a line break here?] and Grace finds you, without trying.