The work feels intimate and subtle, as if a curtain were being opened, little by little, inviting the reader to peak behind the immediate appearance to find something more, for example, the simple act of putting up wallpaper–child and father, revealing so much that is unspoken and understood with hindsight:
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The collection, which is beautifully curated, includes twenty seven living authors from the Ukrainian community, whose work explores a wide range of topics from the many invasions of the country, from the War in Donbas in 2014 which led to the annexing of Crimea through to the major escalation in February 2022, but also poems, essays and stories about the desire to maintain a cultural identity, oppression, love, the climate, forest, feminism, friendship, and pleasure.
If I imagine these poems written on canvas, I think of them as “blood-anointed.” Queeney bears witness and makes frank the realities of these women, or the female experience that may read removed but isn’t always entirely separate from us today.
Almost Deadly, Almost Good is a complex web of sins and virtues that presents a wider, more multidimensional world. The stories are fantastic melodrama and human emotion and demonstrate the nature of humanity in more than black and white terms.
Leach is a scientist and this shows in his preoccupations, with the natural world and our place within it as actors, colonisers, in sickness and caregiving. The focus moves from heavenly bodies to human ones, from the earth to the mind, all with a precision that reflects Leach’s methodical process.
There is a tension between old and new that remains a keynote throughout the book. Learning to accept the duality of her nationality, Eva reclaims her old self and her old name and transforms it into a unique hybrid. Ask No Questions is a book that explores serious topics. The trauma and sadness of the refugee experience is rarely covered through the viewpoint of a child, and Eva teases out that perspective with poetic delicacy, tracing the way in which this perception changes through time.
You might be excused for thinking this particular carton of tropes has languished in the back of the Frigidaire long past its freshness date. You might be excused, that is, if you haven’t read Lise Haines’ deliciously creepy Book of Knives. To enter this modern gothic is to enter a realm of deep and unmooring uncertainty, where the living may prey on the living and the dead — just possibly — might help or harm.
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The overarching theme of time, timelessness, the connection between the past, present, and future binds the poems, even as the poet covers a range of ideas and emotions, displaying a unique vision. Datta ponders over the human condition, drawing on everyday happenings to soar into philosophical and sometimes mystical musings.