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What We Are Given


What We Are Given is a poetic exploration of the bonds which bind and break us. The things we inherit, who we are and how we become them. An examination of what it means to be human that is in equal parts tender and gritty. Ollie O’Neill’s poems navigate a series of emotions and relationships from romance to grief from family to friends. What We Are Given places everyday experiences under the microscope and allows us to understand how they come to be part of the bigger picture. It is unflinching in its honesty and intimacy - unafraid to embrace the dark whilst still leaving room for lightness.

Praise for What We Are Given

"Reading Ollie O' Neill's book was an experiment in delight. There were times that I read word pairings that surprised me so much I clapped my hands together, actually giddy." - Megan Falley, author of After the Witch Hunt, Readhead & the Slaughter King & Drive Here & Devastate Me

"O' Neill is that rare poet I have witnessed holding stages for years and has grown to become an accomplished and vital voice in UK Spoken Word." - Raymond Antrobus, author of All the Names Given, The Perseverance & To Sweeten Bitter

"O' Neill pulls back the curtain enough to show us her world while deftly revealing our own." - Aaron Kent, founder of Broken Sleep Books and author of Angels the Size of Houses

"She takes trauma and makes a bouquet of it, a whole damn wedding. As a poet Ollie O' Neill is a time bomb. She is something about to happen." - Joelle Taylor, author of C+nto & Othered Poems, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2021

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