Carol Ann Duffy: 'You Danced on the Road, Blowing Kisses'
When Carol Ann Duffy’s daughter Ella left home for university, Duffy wrote a poem that captured a feeling familiar to many an empty nester. ‘Your vacant room / is a still-life framed by the unclosed door; / read by sunlight, an open book on the floor.’ Now the former poet laureate has selected it as the opener for an anthology of 99 poems on the subject of families – and the inevitable moment when children grow up and leave. Overflowing with affection, Empty Nest is a collection that feels especially apt when the pandemic has either forced families to stay together, or unfairly kept them apart.
Alongside Duffy’s there are poems by a stellar cast including Sharon Olds, Tony Harrison, Jackie Kay and Eavan Boland. And the anthology ends by coming full circle, to a poem by Ella Duffy about the experience of feeling distanced from her mother. Expect a richly emotional hour of love and longing.