The Protection of Ghosts

The Protection of Ghosts shows how our past can equally haunt and protect us. Here are lyrical poems about intergenerational trauma, familial exile, loss, cultural legacy and hope. In ‘Operation Ranch Hand’, Natalie Linh Bolderston explores how the damage caused by chemical warfare materialises and continues to the present time when a woman ‘does not know about the scar / that is forming inside, that her daughter / will be born wordless on a stretcher.’ The themes of separation and pain are beautifully laced in ‘My mother’s nightmares’ where ‘my mother reaches, / …and I do not know whether I am rising or she is / falling – ’, while a sense of belonging is discovered from the stories passed down to us: ‘…we grew a lot of fruit and greens on the roof. / Always eat with chilli and salt. You try!’ (‘When Bà Ngoại tells stories’). Natalie Linh Bolderston is definitely a distinct and daring voice you would not want to miss.” Romalyn Ante

“In her first pamphlet, Natalie Linh Bolderston portrays the knowledge and care shared among generations of women in poems at once sensory and tender, vivid and emotive. The Protection of Ghosts is a most welcome debut.” V. Press Guest Editor Carrie Etter

The Protection of Ghosts is very haunting and very intricate.

A sample poem from The Protection of Ghosts can be found below.

36 pages
ISBN: 978-1-9165052-3-0
R.R.P. £6.50

BUY The Protection of Ghosts now using the paypal link below. [The Protection of Ghosts is published in April 2019. Pre-orders are sent out in the week of publication.]


The Protection of Ghosts (including P&P/delivery options)

From Bà Cố to Bà Ngoại

Daughter, do not let your feet grow septic with running,
your tongue surrender in your throat.

The country will not know your name.
When your children forget my name, remind them:
I am not just someone who used to love you.

Because you share my bed in times of sickness
and pregnancy, reach for me
as the sun paints you awake.

Con yêu của mẹ, can you hear me?
Remember this when you cradle your daughter
in the early hours, and you want
to throw prayers at the walls
and set the bedposts alight.

Instead, send me a picture of a little girl with frost in her hair
and a face that used to be yours.

When you return from the cold,
show me the shape of the water you crossed,
the blue air in your lungs. 


Bà Cố – great grandmother
Bà Ngoại – maternal grandmother
Con yêu của mẹ – my darling daughter

A previous version of this poem was published in issue 2 of The Good Journal.

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