‘thoughtful, acute and inventive, interested in intricate harmonic effects, in pinning down the largest-scale moments of all’
Jane Draycott, PN Review – review of Exactly My Own Length
Exactly My Own Length
Olivia McCannon’s first collection explores life on the edge of possibility: in one moment the familiar is blown open, we plunge into the unknown. A chance meeting seals a lifetime; a girl leaps from a window, away from safety – ‘she wanted to see what can happen’. From families improvising a living space in Cairo’s City of the Dead, to a veteran of the Normandy landings coming home to the peaceful reparation of ‘glueing, welding, soldering’, life is luminous, and resolutely seized. The closing sequence follows the last months of the poet’s mother’s life. A journey into grief and loss, it pays tribute to the courage of refusing false comfort, the strength that in the end enables us to live ‘between the lines / of tombs’.