Literature Reviews

Review: A Scattering by Christopher Reid

a scattering (1)

Rating: ★★★

Title: A Scattering

Author: Christopher Reid

Genre: Poetry

Publication: 2009, Areté

Content Warnings: cancer, death, illness

Summary: “A tribute to the author’s wife consisting of poems written during her final illness and after her death.” (Source: Goodreads)


My thoughts

A Scattering is a stirring poetry collection about the time before, during, and after the author’s wife’s illness. It was quite a short collection, mainly focusing on the author’s grief and loss. It would be reasonable to say that the author was attempting to find meaning in this period of time. Throughout the collection, there is this desperate tone, almost “a scattering of thoughts” as the author captures the small moments in his wife’s illness as well as reflection on their past. Further, the author questions his own identity during and after his wife’s illness.

I’m the riddle to an answer:

I’m an unmarried spouse,

a flesh-and-blood revenant,

my own ghost, inhabitant

of an empty house.

– Conundrum, p.37

The poems were well written. I connected with some of the poems, but the majority of the poems were too personal for me to connect to. I have the utmost respect for the author for sharing their work with the world, especially a work so sensitive. 

There was one line which is a thought I have had myself when dealing with a death of a close family member:

Can’t you now somehow contrive

to be both dead and alive?

– Lucinda’s Way, p.54


Why did I read it?

I came across this poetry book in a second-hand bookstore, its title caught my attention.

Do I recommend this? 

Yes, it is incredibly well written and truly a beautiful read.

Does the author have other works?

Christopher Reid has written other poetry collections such as The Song of Lunch, Expanded Universes, and Nonsense.


Until next time,

Melissa (1)


Have you read A Scattering by Christopher Reid or something similar? If so, what did you think?


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