On Reflection is a novelty. It is beautiful, delicate and memorable. The collection sweeps along philosophising possibilities, inventing life with breath-taking consciousness. In its own right, it reminds us to remain centred—in a word: read Musgrave.
Pablo Neruda once wrote: “If nothing saves us from death, at least love should save us from life.” In A Long Petal of the Sea, Isabel Allende’s characters are saved from despair by love, friendship and the satisfaction of helping others. Is she suggesting that history repeats itself and that a democracy with social justice and economic equality is an impossible dream? I think not.
Having travelled the distance that Giggs takes us in Fathoms, it seems obvious that there is no choice: “Each of us now sharpens the focus dial on the future of the ocean, of the weather, of the whales and their kin.” Fathoms is a glorious, beautiful and deeply important book.
The author of Walking in the Shadow talks about her most recent (and oldest!) book, her writing routine (or lack thereof), advice for new writers, her research, the hardest scene she’s had to write, her work in progress, and lots more.
It is the clever detailing of life on the Island, and of leprosy, that makes this book so very engaging. Three men alone, with only occasional visits, making their own entertainment, caring for one another, knowing that two of them will never escape the Island unless it’s to go to another leper colony… Yet Carmen makes these men and their lives fascinating. There is real love here; gentle, unselfish, sometimes hard-tried love.
You don’t have to be a card carrying poetry lover to fall in love with the poems in this book. I’m planning to put the anthology on my coffee table and look forward to the conversations it sparks with guests. (That is when we are allowed to have guests again. I am writing to you from the heart of social distancing.) Some of these poems turned me on. Some of them made me long to be the person being kissed for the attention and tenderness of it. Some of them made me cry.
The author of Million Dollar Red talks about her latest book and what she’d like readers to know, Why she chose Vine Leaves Press, about genre fluidity, about working across artistic mediums, her work in progress, and lots more.
This intricate mixture of joy and grief, celebration and fear, is expressed over and over again in these poems. In “Damage,” a poem about her young daughter mistaking the words damn it for damage, the poet reflects, hearing her daughter’s mistake when she stubs her toe or startles when a door slams, “damage [is] the right word.
Set in Nazi Germany during World War II, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas takes the reader on a journey through the eyes of a young, ignorant boy. This story filled me with sadness, but also made me laugh out loud. I would recommend this book for both boys and girls aged 12 to 15 years of age.
Though these are personal poems, rooted in love, loss, grief, and rebirth, there is a strong, though subtle underlying politic which takes the form of advocacy. Collective empowerment is an important theme throughout the work, linking back to the title–kindness as a radical act.