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The Instinct Againt Death
by Emer Gillespie
£8.99 (pub. 2012)

The Instinct Against Death Reviews

"Emer Gillespie is a writer for whom 'the magical' and 'the real' can be effortlessly, exquisitely blended, resulting in rich, psychologically complex, nuanced poetry. In the stunning opening sequence, using direct, energetic language, Gillespie re-imagines the story of Demeter's search for her lost daughter, Persephone, both as a Classical myth and as an agonised contemporary tale of loss, learning and redemption. Demeter's pain is palpable, visceral, eternal. Throughout this collection, Gillespie examines, with unflinching clarity and a restless quest for personal honesty, motherhood, love and friendship, with all their complexities, contradictions, unspoken betrayals. Emer Gillespie is a courageous poet who deals in blood and sunlight, grief and birdsong."

Catherine Smith, poet

"'Whose loss brings darkness?'" I have been hoping to see this book happen ever since Emer's powerful and mesmerizing performance of the opening dramatic monologue. As deceptively nonchalant in her contemporary spin on the ancients as Eavan Boland, she controls our attention in story and sonnet till we can in fact hear a pin drop."

Mebdh McGuckian, poet


I wanted to know.
To be honest I'd grown
bored with Paradise,
knew the place
like the back of my hand.

Adam's innocence –
there were times I wished
he'd just grow up,
learn to think for himself,
always God this and God that.

People say I was tempted.
Truth is that snake
tried his best to stop me.
But I was quick,
sank my teeth in deep.

God boomed and Adam quaked.
He wanted to say sorry,
was prepared to spend eternity
apologising. Me?
I was out of there.

(from The Instinct Against Death)

The Instinct Against Death

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