Unsafe: debut poetry collection out now
Available from Salmon Poetry
Geraldine O’Kane’s anticipated first collection is an impactful introduction to a voice that is compassionate, vivid and courageous. The poems weave between spaces, timelines and identities bearing witness, most often personal, to the encroachment of violence, loss and traumatic events on places and relationships — home, mother, lover, community — that we rely on as our source of safety, while exploring the impact of this on the fine balance between good and poor mental health and how that effects everyday forays into new situations. Whether micro or sustained, Geraldine’s work showcases the power of poetry and art to enter as-yet-uncertain places and breath.
- Olive Broderick
Praise for 'Unsafe'
As a first collection Unsafe demonstrates the very considerable skills and talents of an up and coming poet who can employ the micro form and more expansive free verse form to equal effect. This poet can handle sensitive narrative, evoke memories, excavate a relationship, intimate the depth of mental pain, make incisive observations, or present the crux of a situation with the economy of a haiku --
of the divorce,
I was their shrapnel. (While I Remember)
Most of these poems appear to have grown out of lived experience and close attention, addressing themes such as childhood vulnerability, the fragile balance of relationships, domestic violence, loss and what remains and sustains. What gives these essentially domestic encounters enduring significance is their blend of the particular and the psychological. Geraldine O’Kane brings a concentration of awareness to her carefully weighed and weighted poetry: a distillation that is frank, tender and humane.
- Ruth Carr
I started reading Unsafe and found I couldn’t stop. The honesty, the clear-eyed empathy in these poems is compelling. This is a collection of neatly crafted lyrics depicting the messy moments that make us who we are; some are funny, some shocking. All resonate deeply. Unsafe is a generous and haunting debut.
- Susan Millar DuMars
“There is warmth and light, darkness and danger in these poems. O’Kane drops anchor into the pedestrian moments of the everyday and creates a unique mosaic of domestic vignettes that often take us by surprise.”
- Mel McMahon
Raw and emotive, O’Kane’s work is driven by the power of memory, channelling both nostalgia and melancholy with pinpoint accuracy. These distilled micropoems and lyrically complex lengthier pieces are vivid and ultimately rewarding. A brave and uncompromising debut.
- Ross Thompson
Geraldine’s poems tell of memories that are silently screaming, here they have found a voice where she is urgently reporting back as a witness. She speaks of trauma and the resilience that comes over time. She is Hitting to Hurt, I feel in an effort to heal us; she says “This is the room where I last saw you.” and she certainly sees us, she unflinchingly looks to meet your eye and then devastates us with all it means to be utterly human.
- Stephen James Smith