These nights at home, which follows on from Alex Reed’s earlier V. Press pamphlet A Career in Accompaniment, is very personal, and yet very familiar. This longer pamphlet voices the loneliness and isolation that follow bereavement, and the predicament of trying to begin anew. Moments of tenderness, flashback, longing and love flicker through the mind and heart as the months pass. The poems are accompanied by Keren Banning’s striking series of photographic images that are simultaneously abstract and intimate, drawing the reader further into this fragmented landscape.
“The most striking feature of Alex Reed’s poems in These nights at home is their clarity – a transparency that allows the reader in to the emotions and experience they explore. This lucid quality allows complex and deep feelings to be expressed vividly. Being able to approach the most difficult human experience so directly and honestly makes the poems moving and compelling. Specific concrete details convey loss and grief, loneliness, the pull of memory. Recurring motifs – empty rooms, hallways, doors – suggest the slow and repetitive process of grieving. There is nothing spare in the poems. Every word earns its place. The voice is quiet, restrained, attentive. The poems are not sombre. There are flashes of humour and a range of tone is created through the different poetic forms – prose poems building unsettling extended metaphors, experimental layouts suggesting a shifting sense of memory and perception. The pamphlet shows the reader what it means to be living with loss, conveying the process of grief with its ‘pacing hours’, and just a hint of a tentative way forward. It reminds us how, in the right hands, the economy of poetry can communicate the most complex of emotions.” Cynthia Fuller