This poignant debut by Gavin Bradley explores the emotional toll of different kinds of separation: from a partner, a previously held sense of self, or a home and the people left behind. The main narrative follows the deterioration of a long-term relationship, interweaving poems dealing with the loneliness of immigration and the anxiety of separation from Northern Ireland, the poet's homeland. These personal poems enter their stories through a variety of characters and places, from dock builders to dogs, from shorelines to volcanoes, to "mouths soft and humming like beehives." Sections of the collection examine a post-Troubles' experience in Northern Ireland—evoking the conflict of growing up with bombs and domineering Catholicism—tell grandfather stories, and show a lasting love for the people, the language, and the land. Separation Anxiety ultimately conveys a message of hope, reminding us that "we'll be remembered for / ourselves, and not the spaces we / leave behind."
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