Praise for 'We Will Eat Breakfast with our Children'

Lorraine Mariner:

These are clear-eyed, quietly formal poems, moving from memories of a beloved grandmother stolen by Alzheimer’s, through to the joy and anxiety of new fatherhood in a role very different to that of the previous generation. They explore the love and tension that exists within families and communities, bearing the weight of expectation and change. But there is humour too, especially when reality collides with the dream of travel, work and finding love. Oliver has crafted tender, intergenerational poems that capture “the sweet spot / the moment in-between, when night / hands-over to morning’s light”.

Bryony Littlefair:

Relatable emotional truths, specificity of detail and original conceits combine for a tender, funny collection exploring anxiety, masculinity and memory with conviction and freshness.

Niall M Oliver

Niall M Oliver lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with his wife and three sons. He is the author of 'My Boss' by Hedgehog Poetry Press, and his poems have appeared in Acumen, Atrium, The Honest Ulsterman, Ink Sweat & Tears, Fly On The Wall Press, and others.



I’ve lost count of the times I’ve walked
out those doors and down those steps,
clutching the same slip of paper in my hand.
Sometimes I fold it in half and it doubles in size.
Sometimes I'm wearing it like a sandwich board.
Often the steps transform into a slide.
All around are the faces of fellow pupils
who celebrate in packs. When they hug
I gasp for breath. Each high five stings my cheek.
Their slips fill the air like ticker tape.
I walk fast and keep my gaze to the ground,
avoiding eye contact in case anyone would ask.
I haven’t looked at the paper
but I already know what it says:
You Have Fucked Your Life Up Big Time

I am awake now. There is no slip of paper in my hand.
All is quiet. I wrap the quiet around myself like a blanket.
Beside me, my wife lies still and warm.
I allow myself to rest in the rhythmic tide of her breath.
In a few hours we will get up, wash and dress.
We will eat breakfast with our children.