A Tide Should be Able to Rise Despite Its Moon is Bell’s first book of poetry in over ten years, but regardless of where her extensive creative practice takes her, her work has always reflected a poetic sensibility, so it feels almost like this is her centrepoint.
Adair is not afraid to bring up difficult issues such as the cruelty of online chats, sacrificed ecosystems and the greed and entitlement of First World multinationals. The poet is also very skilled in narration, and tells stories with a voice that is poetic beautiful and deliberate.
Not at all self conscious, these poems are quite deliberate, the made thing. Each has its note of authority, as in the first poem’s first image, “the common loon made a thumbprint on the lake.” Part elegy, part journal, part memoir, part love song, part accusation, part celebration, all in the voice a person with something to say, a poet with the ability to make a word—loon, cattails, meadow—all her own.
After reading and reviewing The Other Mother, I was given the fortunate opportunity to connect with Rachel through her agent, Anjali Singh (Pandeliterary). Due to busy schedules, we decided email was the best way to have a conversation about the novel, what inspired its story, and how it connects to her personal grief and challenges.
Harper’s novel will engage fans of generational sagas and family dramas where long-buried family histories and secrets are unearthed, and where past choices explicitly affect the present and future of others in a snowball effect. The novel excels at revealing motherhood—or parenting––truly: falling in love with a person you’ve helped to create, and, in doing so, loving yourself in ways you couldn’t imagine; knowing you will sacrifice absolutely everything for them.
My reading experience of Fever was equivalent to gulping down water after a long run. I read it with haste and curiosity. I became fascinated by desire and the way Niziolek intellectualizes her vulnerability, placing her own story among the work of contemporary writers, like Sarah Manguso, Jay Ponteri, and Mary Oliver, among others.
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:
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.