Jenni Doherty spends her working life promoting writing - other peoples’ writing. When she isn’t doing that with local publishing house Guildhall Press, the Derry based writer can be found knee deep in books at her beloved Little Acorns bookstore at the Bedlam Vintage Market on Pump Street. In 2012, in between those two jobs, she published her debut solo collection of poetry and prose. Doubtlessly a labour of love, the result, unsurprisingly, is stunning.
In an era where bookshelves are crowded with the autobiographies of fourteen year olds and decent literature seems increasingly well hidden, the Greencastle born woman has achieved something really special here . ‘Rain Spill’ she says in her foreword, is not an autobiographical collection but rather “a spill of thoughts, imaginations, fictions, ideas and realities gathered over four decades.” It is all of this and much much more.
Thankfully, in the last delivery of the Christmas post, ‘Rainspill’ arrived in the front porch with good wishes and begging to be read. Any chosen page is enough to start the reader on a journey they’ll recognise a million times over. There’s love, lust, longing, lying, laughing, letting go and most of all living.
There is a sense that in the nicest possible way there’s something to grab everyone inside the pages of the gorgeously designed book.
‘Facelift,’ is a must. A fragment of the life of the average woman captured in the most intuitive way. Unlike its title and content suggest - this snippet of fantastic poetry is flawless.
Another gem from the sublime debut collection is ‘Six Years Later.’ This together with most of the book, is the kind of writing which will pull you away from whatever else you happen to be doing with your time. With ‘Rainspill’ you won’t be able to help yourself.
There are haunting pieces, like Doherty’s memories of the September 11 attacks.
The breathtaking poem ‘invasion’ in the shortest and most frank of ways looks at the brutality of domestic violence.
This locally published book is a credit to its writer whose background ranges from publishing, journalism, bookselling and public library service to facilitating creative writing workshops, organising literary events and performing poetry.
Describing the efforts behind the publication, Doherty says.
“Some pieces have come to be naturally while others have originally been written on a given subject for the purpose of live performance or as topical commentary for broadcast or newspaper. Tender, light and humourous in places yet coarse, raw and unforgiving in others...I hope you enjoy the calm and storm of their fall; welcome to Rain Spill.”
Rain Spill is published by Guildhall Press and available from local bookshops or at www.ghpress.com