A Grief Cave: Thirty Poems and an Essay by Ben Gallagher

A Grief Cave by Ben Gallagher is a tender and probing examination of the landscape of grief. The collection spurs from the sudden death of Gallagher’s partner a decade ago, and deftly picks its way through life after loss. Through his poems and final essay, Gallagher is unrelenting in his exploration of sadness, but also, one of the lesser communicated emotions of grief: anger. 

The last stanzas of his opening poem, “Looking for the Invisible” read:

I have a face
not my own

This is how
Zoe watches

No need to remember
for her sake later
she is inside my eyes

Memory a way
to be again
where you once were
and I hate it

There is a sense of being haunted in these pieces. Gently haunted. Torn between loving and needing your ghosts and wanting to move on from them. Gallagher’s words, like flame, are hungry, hopeful, and searching. 

There are many lines in this collection that sparkle (“Lake water an iguana skin”) and the perspective offered is extraordinary in its ability to shed light on both singularity and universality of loss. 


Ben Gallagher lives in West Dublin, Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) with his wife and two children. He is a Zen practitioner with the Oak Tree in the Garden sangha. This is his first poetry collection.

Published by Frontenac House: A Grief Cave | Frontenac House Ltd.

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Hollay Ghadery is a writer living in small-town Ontario. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in various literary journals, including The Malahat Review, Room, Grain and The Fiddlehead. In 2004, she graduated from Queen's University with her BAH in English Literature, and in 2007, she graduated from the University of Guelph with her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is the recipient of the Constance Rooke Scholarship in Creative Writing, as well as Ontario Arts Council grants for her poetry and non-fiction. Hollay is the force behind River Street Writing—a collective of freelance writers who create exceptional content and provide creative consultancy services for personal and professional projects. Learn more about them at www.riverstreetwriting.com. Her first book is FUSE.