A review of Tuesday’s Child Is Full by PS Cottier

Reviewed by Beatriz Copello

Tuesday’s Child Is Full
by P.S. Cottier
In Case Of Emergency Press
$13.99, Aug 22, Paperback, 98 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0645375121

For thirteen years PS Cottier ran a blog where she posted a poem every Tuesday, a habit she maintained after the blog was closed, hence the title of this fascinating book, with every poem written on a Tuesday. Cottier is a well-known poet with many awards to her name and I am not surprised her poetry is outstanding on various levels namely the rich language, the variety of topics, the use of literary devices, her unique style, the way the poetry flows, her observations, her politics and her humour, sometimes subtle and sometimes overt. Haikus, Haibuns, narrative poetry, enjambments, pantoums and many more poetic styles and literary devices are portrayed in Tuesday’s Child Is Full.  The poems flow in experimental lines from traditional to absurdist to postmodern. Name a style and search through the book and you will find poems that fit. 

Cottier brings nature and life to the page with her strong descriptions that often lead readers thinking. She is not afraid to express strong emotions, around topical situations, for example, the experience of living through the Covid pandemic:

I miss the pub noise
Society contracts like a fist
Old people dying in dozens
Australia pulls up the biggest drawbridge
Too many whiskies, no balancing gym
Idiotic President’s bleached tips
Only me and the spoilt dog
Novel coronavirus drags (“April was the cruellest month”)

In a very clever way, Cottier utilises questions in her poetry, like in the following poem titled “Do dogs dream of flying?”:

The paws scrabbling during dreams,
the muffled barks, wrapped in clouds;
could it be they chase sparrows
up beyond tight leash of earth?
How far do their brain stretch,
those companions of smooth aliens,
those interpreters of foreign voice?

Cottier’s humour was evident in her previous poetry book V9 which was co-authored with Sandra Renew. Tuesdays Child is Full the humour is more subtle and refined. Andre Breton said in 1924 that he considered an important element of poetry the play of thoughts as a key poetic feature, arguing that this should be prioritised over logic and a narrative that is structured. This type of play through subtle humour, language, emotions, and words is very much a part of what makes Cottier’s poetry such a delight to read.

It is said that one of the fundamental features of poetry is repetition of syllables, words, sounds, phrases and stanzas. Repetitions create expectations. Sometimes the expectations are not fulfilled but all the expectations are met in this wonderful collection. Cottier hides treasures in every poems. Some of the treasures are not easily accessible because the poet very cleverly has hidden them in abstract pictures painted with words. Consequently, some of the poems may need more than one reading to get to their meaning. Others, like a Rorschach test, open a door in your mind and allows you to search for your own meaning which can be an excellent stimulant for the imagination. 

About the reviewer: Dr Beatriz Copello is a well-known reviewer, writer and poet, she is also known for her sense humour. “Her poems are sensuous, evocative and imaginative. Beatriz Copello is one of Australia’s foremost poets,” wrote Julia Hancock, Ex-Editor of Allan an Unwin and Freelance editor and journalist. Copello’s poetry books are Women Souls and Shadows, Meditations at the Edge of a Dream, Flowering Roots, Under the Gums Long Shade, Lo Irrevocable del Halcon and Renacer en Azul (In Spanish), Witches Women and Words and No Salami Fairy Bread both published by Ginninderra Publishing. Her poetry has been published in literary journals such as Southerly and Australian Women’s Book Review and in many other print and Electronic Publications. Fiction books by author are: A Call to the Stars, Forbidden Steps Under the Wisteria and Beyond the Moons of August (Her Doctoral Thesis).