The Days that Followed Paris
‘A truly memorable example of personal trauma intertwined with a city and nation’s pain and anger, distilled, with a critical eye and heart, into poems surgically precise and with a clarity that is extraordinary. All these elements combine to force the reader to stare into and question the abyss of our political and ideological present’ (Sally Carruthers, Poetry School, December 2016, as part of ‘The Poetry School Books of the Year 2016‘)
‘I have just read “The Days that followed Paris” and I don’t want to use the words ‘powerful, deeply moving, profound’, although it is all of those things. I say it is ‘necessary, essential’ actually. I’m reminded of David Constantine’s words (about wars, distant in time or place), ‘…it would always be the responsibility of poets and photographers to insist on the minute particulars, the base details, the cost…’, whether or not they are directly involved in the events. You have done this magnificently.’ (Isabel Palmer, December 2016).
‘Thank you so much for sending me The Days That Followed Paris, your beautiful publication with HappenStance. The poems are very moving and it feels to me like a meditation on an extraordinary moment.’ (Ruth Borthwick, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Arvon, December 2016).
‘The poems on these pages are also quiet, and contained in a way I think helps. They’re neat on the page, very calm, often rhymed. The care with which each word has been chosen and placed sings out. Care is a thing.’ (Charlotte Gann, Sphinx Reviews, December 2016).
‘This is a very fine collection of poems and an apt memorial to those who lost their lives in this terrorist attack in Paris. As fellow citizens we owe it to them to have this chapbook on our book shelves.’ (Wendy French, London Grip, January 2017).
‘The Days That Followed Paris is a pamphlet of far more political relevance than most overtly political poetry. Its subtlety reaches the heart as well as the head, undercutting facile convictions and opening us up to the life-blood of doubt’ (Matthew Stewart, Rogue Strands, January 2017).
‘What he best captures of the aftermath of disaster is a suspension of judgement, the impossibility of casting blame or verdict. In comparison with the grave Fact of the event, other facts which would lend themselves to quick conclusions recede from view and there is a speechless lull into which the poet steps.’ (Theophilus Kwek, The North, February 2017).
‘It’s a challenging project to attempt to record this horror without becoming exploitation but the collection is as faithful a recording as a newsreel. However, it’s more reflective, more personal; more insightful. The reader is invited into the oneness of humanity. There but for the grace of God…Through these poems, we can, in some infinitesimal way, show solidarity with those who experienced such horror. The candour, sincerity and self-exposure here is humbling’.(Lynne Taylor, Orbis, February 2017).
‘Throughout The Days That Followed Paris, Stephenson’s poetry is accessible, thought provoking and cleverly arranged, and there is considerable skill in the way Stephenson gently guides the reader around the physical and psychological features of the post-terror landscape […] a superbly accessible pamphlet, written from a unique perspective. Highly recommended.’ (Charlie Baylis, Sabotage Reviews, October 2017).