Friends: can’t always live with them, but definitely can’t live without them.

Friendship is something that has always fascinated me. (I was about to start a sociology MA when I found out I was pregnant with my elder son.)

Over the years, some of my friendships have flamed like fire, bright and vibrant. Others have been more like water: quiet, calm, flowing or steady. Each one is, of course, unique. Like all relationships of whatever kind, I’ve learned to accept both that they change over time, and that some go one forever while others last as long as they last.

Of course, I have had the occasional faux friends along the way – who pretend to be a friend solely for their own gain. This always hurts, but, luckily, most of my friends have been solid, true and fun.

Anyway, this is a long preamble to explain why I was both drawn to and wary of the Emma Press Best Friends Forever anthology, edited by Amy Key. Friendship for me is something that carries a lot of good memories but also a lot of baggage with it and some sad memories of those no longer here. To be honest, I was scared a book of poems about friendship might be too painful.

However, I started reading the anthology before Christmas, was reassured, enjoyed it, and then became sidetracked by the season’s not-quite-necessities.

Then, last week, I found myself awake at 3am, unable to sleep, and just dipping in and out of the poems again. Some of them feature friendships that are somewhat foreign to me, having had a somewhat awkward and atypical teenagehood. But the anthology has an interesting, often comforting and memory-provoking mix of poems and friendships.

This selection helped remind me of what I miss most about the good friendships of my youth but also the wonderful things about my friendships post-chilldren. The honesty of Amy Key’s introduction is refreshing too. Friends (and friendships) aren’t always perfect or easy, but, like life, they’re there to be loved and treasured for being exactly who they are, as are these poems.