In poetry I was moved by What Just Happened by Sara Berkeley Tolchin. She works as a hospice nurse in America and the everyday realities of death pervade poems that reflect on nursing and explore the relationships between mothers and daughters, written in the shadow of her mother’s final illness in Ireland. She refuses to seek comfort in platitudes so that while these poems are heart-breaking, they never lose their poise or sharply minted clarity.
— Dermot Bolger, Books of 2015, The Irish Independent
Sara Berkeley’s new collection, What Just Happened, contains poems that explore ‘The heart without compass/The journey without a map’ in an Irish and Californian setting.
These wise, sensory poems about living far from home, her other’s death, an ex-husband’s suicide, her 13-year-old daughter learning to drive and coyotes, achieve ‘a benediction of some sort’.
— Niall MacMonagle, Books of 2015, The Irish Independent