For Mark Tredinnick, best known so far as a nature poet employing distinctive and often ingenious imagery, A Gathered Distance is a brave book – even a risky one. It’s essentially the diary of a family breakup or, more accurately, its immediate aftermath. As with most poetry in the confessional genre, the poet is explicit about some people and reticent about others.
From the poetry itself, it would seem that the breakup was occasioned by the poet’s leaving his family (a wife and three children) for a new love. We are not told much about the two women involved, and it is clear that the poet was estranged from his children for some time and felt the pain intensely, a pain articulated in almost every poem in the book. Even the nature poems are part of it.