U.A. Fanthorpe wrote of Diverting The Sea, Emily Wills’ first collection “This is a domestic collection and a disturbing one”. Yes: exactly. Emily is married, has children, lives in Gloucestershire where she works as a GP. The love and joy of this ordinariness suffuses her poems: at the same time she looks through the smiles to the pain, loss, sheer physical agony, that sit waiting for us. The writing is clear, brief, concise. The best poems in this book, ‘Five a.m.’, ‘At a Distance’, ‘The Raspberry Net’, ‘Red Primroses’, are very good indeed.
I watch the sky; there is snow forecast.
You say you suspected for some time.
I carry shopping, satchels, books.
You arrange words and probabilities.
I am far away. I tidy rooms. I sleep.
You remember the three days we spent
on the cheapest bus to Greece.
I buy flowers and watch them opening.
You wonder how to tell the children.
I am shut inside. It is March
and should not be snowing.
The flowers are too red, the wind too cold.
The children are tight buds filled with words.
You will not see them opening.
You are shut inside. You watch the sky.
I feel I have known this for all time.
You tidy rooms. You sleep. You are far away.
The snow is too red, the flowers too cold.
Emily Willis was born in Hampshire in 1958. She went to medical school in Bristol and worked with her husband at a rural hospital in Malawi in the late 1980s. They have three children and live in Gloucestershire where Emily works as a part-time GP. Her first collection, Diverting the Sea was published by The Rialto in 2000. Her second collection, Developing the Negative, was published in 2008.
‘Emily Wills’ gift lies in choosing quite ordinary things and seeing through them into strangeness…’
‘Watch out for Emily Wills’ work and be prepared to be surprised…’
Emily Wills website is www.emilywills.co.uk
(The Rialto 2000)