Review of The Don’t Touch Garden in Salzburg Review

A lovely long review of Kate Foley‘s The Don’t Touch Garden from Lindsay MacGregor in Poetry Salzburg Review

Kate Foley’s eighth collection, The Don’t Touch Garden, is firmly rooted in her own life…
It is hardly surprising that it has taken Foley, born in 1938, so many years to publish these poems. She confronts difficult issues and complex feelings head on. “Lost Property” (8-9), imagining the distress of her birth mother, ends rue-fully: “She’s lost her memory but not / its weight and shape and pain.” (9)
Foley is adept at using sound, particularly alliteration and rhythm, to bring observed moments to life. So, in the title poem, we distinctly hear the repeated hacking as: “My father coughs the cough that kills / thirty years later” (16).
The collection makes for a challenging read, confronting all of us with the vulnerability of childhood and the isolation that comes with inability to articulate feeling.
But there’s humour too. In an observation which may resonate with many British readers, “My mother murdered cabbage. / It died with a yelp in the pot.”
This is a tender and moving collection. Although it is about adoption, there is something in this collection for anyone who has been a child…

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