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Touched by Alan Buckley

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Some kinds of human damage are invisible and ‘Not suffering in silence goes against the grain’, as Alan Buckley says in ‘Script’. But the poems in Touched, his first full collection, do speak out. With delicacy and precision, they explore how it is to live with the psychological impact of trauma.

In this landscape of risk, where the prospect of healing means everything, trust is perilous. As for love—well, love is no less than terrifying. But not impossible.

This stirring debut has been long in the making. It is born of lived experience, honesty and indisputable craft. And it talks from the heart.


You rhyme with clean, machine.
You’ve come to purge my body
of its early morning fear.
These words stick in my throat.
For years I’ve tried to live 
without you, stubborn as hell, 
as if I’d something to prove. 

Not suffering in silence goes
against the grain. I raise 
a glass to my lips and swallow 
both my pride and you—
a tablet with a little 
groove, easily snapped
in two. Just like a brain. 



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