Review: To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Title: To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre

Author: Victoria Bennett

Price: £6.00

Publisher: Indigo Dreams Publishing

Hello lovelies! Today I’ve got the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for Victoria Bennett’s ‘To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre’ which I was extremely excited to read! Massive thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for my gifted copy of the pamphlet. As always, I will leave the blog tour poster at the end so you can check out the other reviews from the tour!


These poems are an intimate meditation on love and loss, told by a daughter as she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. The poet invites the reader to be witness to the private moments of dying, from the physical reality of caregiving through to the alchemy of death, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief. Honest, unsentimental, and quietly uplifting.

In ‘To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre’, Victoria Bennett allows us a glimpse into her life, as well as her mind, during the time when she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. Bennett’s prose and imagery capture you from the very first page as she reveals:

“I spend my days on the telephone,
searching for certainties:
names, dates, results,
chasing facts like dandelion wisps,
running out of time.”

It’s evident that the collection of poems is full of grief but the love that Bennett has for her mother seeps through the pages. The poems portray loss and sadness but they also provide hope, hope that there is still life after death. In the poem, ‘St Bees, November’ (p.31), Bennett shares:

“and the tides are not full of sorrow
but stones, singing:
a story yet to be told.”

The pamphlet is short, at only 33 pages, but as you can see from the extracts above, the small number of poems hold many emotions. I have to admit, this poetry collection is one of a few which made my cry; this showcases how emotional and absorbing it is. So be warned, if you plan on reading it, grab a pack of tissues first! 

Overall, ‘To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre’ is a beautifully written pamphlet with many powerful poems, some of my favourites from the collection are ‘How To Watch Someone Die’, ‘Tell Me Lies’ and ‘Cooking’. As someone who also wrote poetry to help me with grief, I know how challenging and heartbreaking it is to write about the loss of a loved one so I want to say a massive thank you to Victoria Bennett for sharing such personal moments with us. The poems from this collection are ones that will definitely stay in my mind and heart for a long time and it was a pleasure to discover Bennett’s writing! The pamphlet is a definite 5 stars for me and I urge you to read it! 

Rating: 5 stars


About the Author

Victoria Bennett founded Wild Women Press in 1999 and has spent the last 21 years facilitating creative experiences and curating platforms for women to share ideas, stories, inspirations and actions for positive change, including the global #WildWomanWeb movement and #WildWomanGamer. She holds and MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (2002). Previous awards include the Northern Debut Award for non-fiction (2020), the Mother’s Milk Writing Prize (2017), The Writing Platform Digital Literature Bursary (2015), Northern Promise Award for Poetry (2002), and the Waterhouse Award for Poetry (2002). 

Her work-in-progress memoir, ‘All My Wild Mothers’ was long-listed for the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019 and the Penguin #WriteNow2020 programme. 

Victoria is currently undertaking her MRes in Creative Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands (Shetland), exploring narratives of absence within landscapes of personal and ecological loss. She is a director of The Wizard and The Wyld Ltd, creating imppersive playable poetry within video-game platforms. A frequent digital collaborator, she is interested in how poetry and new technologies can be used to creative meaningful and authentic narratives.

Make sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour!

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