SONGS FOR A DAUGHTER by Peter Ualrig Kennedy
Peter Ualrig Kennedy is the lead organiser and treasurer of POETRY WIVENHOE, which publishes poetry on line and in print and hosts a monthly poetry open mic with featured poets, online since the pandemic made 'live' poetry difficult.
Peter Ualrig Kennedy writes:
In writing poetry about a great hurt, there is a danger of sliding into saccharine sentimentality. The poems collected in 'Songs for a Daughter' are, by their very nature, intensely personal, but I hope that I have avoided that trap. The poems are all about Megan Lucille, the third of our four children, who is learning disabled and a wheelchair user. She has grown into a beautiful person, although ‘lacking capacity’, and is loved by our family and by all who meet her.
'A father’s unconditional love shines through every page of this collection. Small precious moments captured, from the anguish of a differently abled daughter’s birth and the necessity of relinquishing her to residential care, the cherishing of small brilliant achievements, Sunday walks, routines and rituals, shared understandings, dreams, regrets, baths and joyous visits. These poems speak their simple truths direct from the heart and are all the more touching for that.'
— Chrys Salt
'In this candid and moving collection Peter Kennedy shows us that, just like drinking from the cup of his learning disabled daughter, poetry can be ‘an act of solidarity’ [’Her cup’]. He reminds us there is joy and light, beauty and blessing to be found in small familiar acts, even in the face of ‘all the blows that life can give.’ [The day we were told’]'
— Stephen Boyce
'A rare collection that delivers on the promise of its title in singing its plaintive, yet clear-throated, song for a daughter. The book’s greatest achievement is the remarkable one of beginning with agonised devotion for a half-lost child while evolving into the tender-hearted celebration of a life affirmed by love.'
— Martin Malone
'Apart from being an enjoyable read, Peter Kennedy's 'Songs for a Daughter' should bring inspiration, pride and joy to so many families. It opens windows. Here we see his daughter's world through her eyes and touch it with her fingertips. A life-affirming book, this beaautiful celebration of Megan's life will encourage many other parents to bring children labelled 'lacking capacity' out of the shadowss and into the dancing sun. Enjoy the music.'
— Tim Cunningham
"Peter Ualrig Kennedy has written a moving sequence about his learning disabled daughter which is highly personal yet keeps the reader engaged throughout... the whole book is quietly and knowingly understated. It could indeed be called poetry of witness – but undramatic witness, reporting what has happened without much analysis or recrimination about the causes or the randomness of misfortune.... the poems also remind us from time to time that Kennedy’s sense of humour has not been overwhelmed by the deep hurt at the heart of this collection..."
— Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, London Grip.