Survival after becoming single at forty requires a complete metamorphosis from that dark soul clinging to the underside of leaves. Maria Stephenson takes us through the phases of pupation that make up the emergent new you. Only someone who has undergone such a crucial transformation can properly observe the toxicity of a dying relationship and how the decay seeps into everything; and can remark on the vibrant new person who flies free.
Although these poems are written from a female perspective they have appeal to readers of either sex; indeed many have noted that there are very few resources available to those in this situation.
In Maria’s own words: “up until my fortieth birthday in 2013, I was living in the depths of despair with a controlling, abusive husband. My self esteem was on the floor, I was taking anti-depressants and had come to believe his words that no one else would want me and I would never amount to anything. During my marriage, poetry became my outlet for the trauma I was living through and I was able to pour my heart and soul into my writing – it was this, I believe that ensured I survived and finally summoned up the strength to get out. My escape was also ‘chronicled’ through poetry and then, two years later, when I felt brave enough to date again, it was a relief to write more light hearted and happier poems!”
From the Yorkshire Times
“Ms Stephenson’s loose use of a kind of retrospective present tense sharpens the immediacy of her narrator’s protean mood flow, and gives currency to what, in passages, resembles a stream of consciousness.
The deft transition between poetic and stanzaic forms – she moves effortlessly between the conventional and the concrete, the quatrain and the tercet, rhyme and assonance – is evidence of a skilled hand at the tiller, the variety giving ironic vent to a poetics of the conditional.”
Steve Whitaker, Literary Correspondent
Yorkshire Times Poem of the week
“To acknowledge the polychromatic strata of relationships is to claim relief from their worst excesses, and the wisdom of evolving emotions is measured in Stephenson’s deeply affecting words.”
Steve Whitaker on Questions from a forty-something single male