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This is such a crazy long shot
December 23, 2008 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Heroin addict decides to face her habit so she moves to the bucolic Scottish (or Irish, somewhere in the UK at any rate) countryside, meets a (decades-older) blind farmer, falls in love, kicks the habit, eventually has to grieve his death, starts writing luminous poetry, publishes... but what is her name, or the name of her book? (last-minute, last-ditch Xmas-gift-filter)

Hive mind! If you folks can't answer this, no one can, and at least I will feel like I really tried. Anyway:
I was in the car with my mother coming back from the airport a few days ago, talking about poetry, and she mentioned a poet that made a huge impression on her two years ago at a reading. Of course, she doesn't remember the name of the poet, or the name of her book, but she does remember some especially unique details about this poet's life (see above) on which basis alone I thought it might be possible to identify her.

Also, if this helps narrow it down, this is in Western Mass, so the reading was somewhere around here (Pioneer Valley/Easthampton/Westhampton), it was two years ago (sorry, no specific date), and the poet was not on a book tour by herself- my mom had actually gone to see some other poet read, and it turned out he was on tour with this woman who was also reading her poetry. Needless to say, her poetry really made an impression on my mom, but she didn't buy her book because she was broke. I would love nothing more than to find this book for her, because I have a feeling that the more time goes by, the less my mom is going to remember anything about her and be able to find it. The only things I have to go on, aside from the very general time (2 years ago) and place (Western Mass) that this happened, is this woman's incredible biography, which you'd think would narrow it down.

As my mother remembers it, she was a heroin addict who, in order to face her habit, moved to a very remote area in the countryside of somewhere in the UK, probably Scotland or Ireland (if you are wondering, like I did, what kind of heroin addict has the wherewithal and extra cash to up and move to the bucolic countryside, it seems that she lived somewhere in the UK already so it wasn't an overseas move). While she was living there, she met a man (a couple decades older than her, and blind, I think) that lived there and they fell deeply in love, and she overcame her addiction, but at some point he died, and she started writing poetry.

I am not sure if this is the subject matter of the poems or not (I imagine that at least some of them are about that experience) but the woman's story is pretty incredible and so on that basis alone you'd think it'd be easier to find her name. Unfortunately, all my google searches along these lines have failed. My mother did mention that the book might have been called something like "A Sheepherder's Calendar" but again, I've had no luck with this or any variations (Shepherd's Calendar, Sheepherder's Almanac, etc). I've asked around at a couple of bookstores in the area, and this doesn't ring any bells with anyone, so it seems like it's pretty obscure. If you know who this woman is, then I will be very grateful, and impressed with your wonderful taste in poetry.
posted by Aubergine to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Was it Josephine Dickinson?
posted by fire&wings at 10:02 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Her book is called Silence Fell, btw, but it is arranged in the form of a shepherd's calendar.
posted by fire&wings at 10:04 AM on December 23, 2008


Amazing, thank you!
posted by Aubergine at 11:04 AM on December 23, 2008


a series of these were recently posted on you tube
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Qnys0AgPQ
posted by edtut at 6:24 PM on December 23, 2008


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