Relativism by Mary Ford Neal Readings & Pre-Orders

As July approaches we find ourselves less than one month away from the publication of Relativism, the outstanding second collection by poet and academic Mary Ford Neal.

Artfully confronting themes of attachment, (be)longing, certainty, doubt, and our connections to places, times, people, and ideas, Relativism uses different voices and the lens of our most intimate relationships to explore various stages of life and states of knowledge, from confusion to enlightenment to doubt.

Mary has said: “I’ve really enjoyed the creative process of working with Taproot to bring Relativism into being. I’ve felt at every stage that the collection is in the safest hands, and I’m looking forward to sharing these poems with readers.”

Mary’s is carefully constructed work of the highest standard, and we are proud to be sharing it with you. Launch events are being planned across Edinburgh and Glasgow, with more details to follow. In the meantime, you can read three poems from the collection and pre-order your copy here.

‘Husband, this will be hard to hear’

Over the next three weeks we’ll be sharing readings from Relativism, starting with the striking ‘Husband, this will be hard to hear’, which you can listen to below.

If you enjoy it we would be so pleased if you shared this post, and do check back next week for the next recording from Mary’s excellent sophomore collection.

‘Husband, this will be hard to hear’ from Relativism, out July 9

Husband, this will be hard to hear

but you’re dead, and I hate your ghost.

You died in such small increments that I think
you may have missed your own last breath, but even so,
it was no less the shock to me. Fetal with grief,
I felt such eiderdown relief that anything of you remained
that I encouraged him to hang around, a charm against
the solitude that seemed to seep in under every door.
I thought it might be a bit like having a cat. But
it’s nothing like having a cat.

The blow was realising that he’s really nothing like you,
darling, he’s cold, and when he slides between the sheets
at night I inch away. OK, I more than inch—
I now sleep in a different room, with lights on, and
he sleeps in what was formerly our bed.
I’ve steadily yielded whole rooms to him, but still,
somehow, he’s always in my way.

I tried with him, truly I did—
I crept from my sleepless room
to ice myself beside him two or three times, but
he was never hungry, like you.
Eventually I remembered that, of course,
ghosts never are.

Worse still, he does some things that frankly creep me out—
the crawling, the shapeshifting.
And this will be the hardest thing of all for you to hear—
your dog detests him too. I’m sorry,
sweetheart, but you always had two rules:

We must be honest with each other.


We don’t involve the dog in our delusions. It has its own life.

The first of these applies, I think, and so,
although this must be very hard to hear,
I knew you’d want to know.

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