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Restricted Movement

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Restricted Movement is an explosive collection of poems that document life as a daughter trying to support her artist father who is overseas struggling with dementia and drug addiction during a pandemic. Interspersed with the frantic cycle of overdoses, escapes from care, disappearances and urgent international phone calls are moments of reflection on her father’s artwork and her seaside surroundings.

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‘Traci O’Dea has written verse that complements her old man’s visions like a tugboat pulling a freighter out to deep water’

- Rafael Alvarez, author of Orlo & Leini and writer from The Wire

‘Traci O’Dea’s Restricted Movement is timely, stirring, and sharp as a knife. A pandemic book, an addiction story, and a love letter to a troubled father, it defies the odds by also being really fucking funny. If you needed any further proof that form lends force to feeling, here it is.’

- Matthew Buckley Smith, author of Midlife, winner of the Richard Wilbur Award, and host of the poetry podcast Sleerickets.

‘Unflinching in its portrait of filial devotion, Traci O’Dea’s Restricted Movement is beautiful and funny. This collection of poems--both love letter and intimate diary--is so skillfully wrought that the lines often seem effortless--almost casual--and yet O’Dea’s formal and emotional control is impeccable.’  

- Joanna Pearson, author of Now You Know It All, winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.

‘This is a stunning work of art that layers harrowing narratives, acute social observations, and glorious moments of beauty, grit, and redemption-all impastoed until it is the truth itself that rises before us like paint bubbling out of a canvas. Beautiful.’

- Andre Bagoo, author of The Undiscovered Country

‘frank and deeply affecting, a vivid document of time out of joint.’

- Ana Sampson, editor of She Is Fierce

more about this title


Traci O’Dea


Tommy O’Dea

about the author
Traci O’Dea is an American poet living in Jersey, UK where she is currently composing a novel in verse and a collection of verse monologues. In 2021 Scotland Street Press published her recent collection, Restricted Movement, for which she received a Seed Funding Grant from Arthouse Jersey.
about the artist
Self-taught, visionary artist Tommy O’Dea uses art as part of his recovery from addiction. Because of this, he refers to himself as a “glue artist,” layering glues and epoxies, creating richly textured surfaces. These are often augmented with acrylic paint, sea glass and glitter.
Restricted Movement
No order tells my dad what he can’t do.
You’d think he’d be the one most used to it,
but prison didn’t break him, only made
him value freedom more. He disappears
for days, to prove the laws do not apply
to him. Each time, my heart sours, afizz
like blue-green algae film on stagnant pond.
Neighbours ask if he’s okay. ‘He’s fine,’
I lie, or maybe it’s a prayer. I try
to recollect what it was like before,
what I worried about. Earlier still,
my whole childhood he spent in jail. I slept
just fine back then. I never dreamt of him.
You’d think I’d be the one most used to it.

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