Ghost Sojourn


Ghost Sojourn by Gwen Sayers
Fool for Poetry Prize winner

Southword Editions, 2024, 26 pages
ISBN: 978-1-915573-11-7

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Gwen Sayers worked as a doctor in South Africa, Seattle, and London where she lives. Her poetry has been published widely in magazines and anthologies, most recently, Propel Magazine Issue 9 (Ed. Fran Lock), Acumen, DMQ Review, Unbroken Journal, Right Hand Pointing, and Tears in the Fence. She won First Prize in the Magma Poetry Competition in 2022, and has been a Forward Prize nominee for best single poem.

Ghost Sojourn is a powerfully evocative and haunting collection that explores diverse themes of memory, trauma, and loss. Sayers deftly weaves vivid narratives rich with symbolism that are both intimate and emotionally resonant. From the ghostly presence of departed loved ones to eerie encounters with waxwork figures and forest witches, the collection takes readers on a mesmerising journey through the labyrinth of the mind. Ghost Sojourn is at once a poignant and visceral reminder of the transient nature of life and the enduring power of memory.” – Louise Buchler

“I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry that expressed loss and grief so vividly, or connected so truly with my own felt experience of these things. Deep grief is a strange journey characterised by jolts, alarms and surreal interventions. These poems capture that strangeness, embracing brutality, tenderness and everything in between. I wept over the disintegrating centaur, ‘happiest in the dark’; felt the full force of the clashing symbols, ‘scarlet as a low kick’, in the hobnail-booted ballet of a prose poem. Sometimes visceral, shot through with synaesthesia and fever dream imagery, sometimes heartrendingly childlike, this is a revelatory collection.” – Janet Lees