Val Horner is a poet who, though initially quiet and unassuming, always seizes our attention and commands our rapt respect. On the one hand, these poems are gentle musings, yet on the other she touches an eternal truth to which we all need to pay attention.
She puts ideas into simple words – that is, gives form to – fleeting perceptions of what it feels like to be alive and alone in an utterly mysterious universe.
Gooseberries is long overdue and has been exquisitely illustrated by Val’s daughter, Tina. These illustrations are extensions of the poems and are an integral part of them.
“To the five senses with which she skewers the world Val Horner adds humour, compassion, skill and intellectual rigour: a mature, versatile poet.” John Gilham, Editor, Dream Catcher
“Val Horner’s poems are simple, innocent and quite deadly; I love her ‘convivial crocodiles’ her ‘hit and miss sex’, her ‘blue as Frank Sinatra’s eyes’. There is a sense of someone saying listen to this, listen, and afterwards you will not be quite so foolish. She makes us smile. She makes a narrative of feeling, gives us its long trajectory and fall. The images of marriage: ‘the old house’, ‘bruised daffodils,’ ‘frog spawn,’ clutch the heart and let it go. She has a sense of what has fallen away and what it is too late to retrieve.” Alan Smith, columnist and author