Karen Dennison

Poet and artist

Karen Dennison reviews Andy Armitage’s Letters to a First Love from the Future

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The Poetry Shed

aaaaaaLetters to a first love from the future by Andy Armitage charts the birth, life, death and aftermath of this first relationship that begins at school and is a heartfelt, honest and moving memorial of words.

The speaker’s love is portrayed as a form of religious worship which is betrayed by doubt and throughout the poems there is a foreshadowing of the relationship’s end and its psychological wounds.

The collection begins with Snapshot, a blurred image of which is also included before the contents page, where the couple are in the playground “heads leant together in idiot hope”. The speaker describes his hands at his sides “like the hands of a stopped clock”. Here is a longing to stop time and preserve this moment, not just its image.

The next poem, Sally, begins “on the last day I didn’t love you” and takes us to a specific moment of…

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