Where the Road Runs Out

Gaia Holmes’ third collection of poetry transports us to the edge of things: to remote, treeless islands, to dark, unfathomable mines, to the gaping maw of grief. With frailty and ferocity, these poems map out the strange absences left in our lives when a rupture occurs – like the sudden appearance of a sinkhole – threatening to pull everything else down with it.

Where the Road Runs Out is a powerful and intimate portrait of loss, isolation, and ultimately healing. Above all, it is a paean to the landscape, and the myths, magic and mysteries that lie just beneath the surface.


‘More like incantation or witchcraft – Gaia’s poems are spells, taking the most ordinary and mundane of things, and working some metamorphosis on them, so they shine like stars – tiny but brilliant.’ – Sara Maitland

'Gaia Holmes' collection is full of an energetic openness to all kinds of vivid feeling.  These deft, satisfying poems probe the gaps in the world and the sadness at the edge of things, but are often ready to rush outside, to look and to breathe.  Her poems unroll with a direct and inventive naturalness, certain of where they are going and always ready to take the reader with them in a tumble of unexpectedness.' - Judy Brown (author of 'Crowd Sensations' and 'Loudness')

'Holmes chronicles the stages of grief – the awareness of approaching death, the loss and the recovery – with searing lyricism. This emotional journey, with all of its turns, is met with adroit and luminous verse. Insightful and often witty, Holmes faces the trials of life not only with her deft elegiac touch but with reserves of humour.' - Poetry Book Society Autumn Bulletin

Gaia Holmes’s poems are meditations on evening fires, familial duty, where someone is ‘definitely dying’, where the outside comes in, the land and the natural world become an integral part of self, community and understanding grief. These poems made me light a candle, find another blanket, crave fresh bread, and send thoughts to my loved ones many miles away. - Jenna Clake, Author of 'Fortune Cookie'

'It is certainly one of my favourite poetry books this year. Holmes’ imagery and language inspired me to look deeper into my own and rejoice in those landscapes, those gaps, hiding under the deadwood and pickle jars. There are poems here about being a middle-aged woman who isn’t a mother, there are poems about love and loss, there are poems trying to make sense of this mad world.' - Haley Jenkins at Selcouth Station

'There’s a meditative quality to Holmes’s work which provides the perfect antidote to the frenzy of modern life. These are poems focused on individual moments, each one like a drawn-out breath.' - Nicole Melanson (WordMothers)

What I want now is for this collection to be given the recognition it deserves, I want it to win prizes, and I finally want to be able to tell poets about Gaia Holmes and not need to explain who she is.' - John Foggin (The Great Fogginzo's Cobweb - feat. excerpts from a number of poems)

"There are still remnants of the fire pit Gaia built to keep herself warm. A rough circle of stones with a charcoal lined inner.

‘And you wrote poems here? By this fire pit?’

‘Yes. I was sending them off to magazines. I just couldn’t stop writing. I had this urge to write and it was lovely.' " - Michael Stewart


Read 'Before All This' from the collection on Bookaninsta

Read three poems, 'Feckless', 'The Lord's Prayer' and 'Playing Alive' at And Other Poems

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Book Details

24 Aug 2018

About the Author

Gaia Holmes

Gaia Holmes lives in Halifax. She is a free-lance writer and creative writing tutor who works with schools, libraries …
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