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DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: A God at the Door

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10:51

As a much admired poet, writer and dancer, Tishani Doshi leaves little of the arts world untouched. Countries of the Body was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection while Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. From politics, womanhood to the roots that ground us, this is a rewarding journey to undertake as a reader. Doshi’s characteristic wit, spikiness and vigour are on display in her new collection:

What more can be said about women?
Leave it. If history were a picture show
and we kept editing the bits we didn’t like
snip       snip       snip […]

(‘Instructions on Surviving Genocide.’)

From the very outset, these poems require an inquisitive mind. To turn history and ancestry on its head, they invite reflections on the misjudgement of legality and the failure of patriarchy.... 

This is an excerpt of a review by Mhari Aitchison of Tshani Doshi's A God At The Door  (Bloodaxe forthcoming, April 2021). For more information on Doshi at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: The Conversation of Sheep

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 10:36

I’ve never read a poetry book that has made me laugh out loud the way Hugh McMillan’s 2018 collection did (it is possible I’m reading the wrong poetry). But The Conversation of Sheep is more than just sheep jokes, and therein lies its brilliance. The artistry and rhythm of these short, mostly page-long poems is contemplative and slow, but their content is incisive and witty, with pathos hanging over everything like the mist in the photos that accompany them.

The first thing to belie the humour, and possibly the reason I was so surprised to find myself laughing, is the somewhat menacing black and white cover photo depicting the silhouette of a herd of sheep on a low hill. The monochrome contrast recalled for me first world war imagery, as if the sheep were climbing from the trenches in a last attempt on the front.

Each poem in The Conversation of Sheep is paired with a with black and white photograph by Michael Robertson, a farmer neighbour of McMillan’s. These are, if I am not mistaken, real photographs, the kind made with film in a dark room. They are grainy, shadowy and evocative and are carefully curated alongside the poems...

This is an excerpt of a review by Ellie Julings of Hugh Mcmillan's The Conversation of Sheep. For more information on Long at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 379

Monday 22 February 2021, 14:13

Parkhill Wood

Bluebells crowd the woodland scene
Ragged Robins murmur sunlit pink
beyond the wood shades of green
demand we stop to smile to think

here Ragged Robins sunlit pink
make shadow spaces come alive
demand we stop to smile to think
how dark and light together thrive

shadow spaces come alive
branches whisper above the blue
dark and light together thrive
the chinkling burn meanders through

branches whisper above the blue
the eye caressed by shades of green
the chinkling burn meanders through
Bluebells crowd the woodland scene

George W Colkitto

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 378

Friday 19 February 2021, 12:52

Maggie McIver’s Dream

We are pure dead brilliant,
East End fandabidosi style
with neon teeth stretching above
the Gallowgate.
You see us before you’ve even arrived
with our star struck mary doll smile.
And once you’ve ventured inside,
it’s full steam ahead to a time gone by.
Our black and red linoleum stair
shout slogans, but the sinners are unaware
as the 1960’s flamingo pink loos have seen
their fair share of stylish shoes and trendy hairdos.
Once inside the womb venue, where
we’ve nurtured lust and romance, given birth
to love, stars and musical chance.
Vaulted diamond ceiling, sparkling world,
sprung dance floor stickier than the air
thick with the stench of crisps, Irn Bru and cheap beer.
Iconic, the original Glasgow sin,
where every real star wants to be in.
No old gallus grand dame, we are Queen.
Remember everyone knows our name,
written in neon above the door
 Barrowland,
we have been so much more
than a just ballroom since 1934.
We are Maggie McIver’s Dream. 

Catherine Conoboy-Reid

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: My Darling from the Lions

Friday 19 February 2021, 12:07

... Rachel Long is the founder of Octavia Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, and although my electronic copy was without a cover that shows a young woman of colour, themes of race, religion, gender, sexuality and family relationships are evident from the outset.

Arranged in three sections, ‘Open’, ‘A Lineage of Wigs’ and ‘Dolls’, the collection uses a wide range of forms and structures, all in free verse. The first section begins with a deceptively simple quintet of the same name:

This morning he told me
I sleep with my mouth open
and my hands in my hair.
I say, What, like screaming?
He says, No, like abandon.

Providing us with an intimate glimpse into the speaker’s private life, Long evokes the twisted texture of emotions that come with a relationship behind closed doors. Here, she has opened that door to us with dialogue.... 

This is an excerpt of a review by Thomasin Collins of Rachel Long's Forward Prize winning My Darling from the LionsFor more information on Long at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News

DURA's StAnza 2021 reviews: Shine, Darling

Friday 19 February 2021, 11:52

One may be surprised to discover that Shine, Darling is Ella Frears’ debut poetry collection. Frears presents an unapologetic front through her straightforward style, favouring lyric poetry as her medium. There is a raw intimacy to perform these experiences, whether it be a near-abduction, a suicide when she was in college, or having sex on bins in Cornwall, Frears will bring the reader into the heart of it all. As she says,

otherwise
It doesn’t work; otherwise none of this works.

(‘Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity’)

 

This is an excerpt of a review by Amy Turnbull of Ella Frear's Shine, DarlingFor more information on Frears at StAnza21, please click HERE. To read the whole review, go to the DURA webpage.  

Categories: News
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