Oct 15, 2014
Snapshotsare all about women, embodiment, family, memory, politics, femininity and all of those topics that keep needing to be talked about. By focusing on these three collections today, we hope to help keep these books, and their ideas, in our collective minds and memory.
The Fleece Era
Joanna Lilley's debut poetry collection explores time through place, and the world through the everyday. The Fleece Era is a reminder of the significance of the mundane and the complexity of the familial: "She'll say she's sorry by painting / the kitchen and ringing the plumber." The poems are both sardonic and comforting, resistant and motherly. Lilley writes about both individualism and dependency in an attempt to locate identity in society, in family, and in self that is both liberating and loving. The journey in The Fleece Era is not so much geographical as chronological. Every location, every moment, represents the past, present, and future simultaneously: "I try not to be nostalgic for a place / I chose to leave for a place unbroken." Each event in The Fleece Era is hauntingly recognizable. To put it in her own words, the poems are are "felt and seen rather than just merely thought."
Kate Hargreaves' Leak encapsulates the sharp sardonic wit of both Lilley and Strang in a complete deconstruction of the body and the body politic: "Her belly voted for the NDP" / "Her collarbones. Her sternum. Her rack. Her ribbed for her pleasure." / "Her hip-to-hip, toe-to-toe, or cheek-to-cheek. She toes the line." Here too, like in Lilley's The Fleece Era, experience is plotted, but in this case it is physically rendered on the body as bruises, scratches, and bumps. Hargreaves portrays a distinct violence in being, specifically in being a woman, that is apparent even from her table of contents ("Heap / Chew / Skim / Pore / Chip / Peel") which focuses on words that are both domestic and torturous. Leak experiments and plays with language and the result, like the book as a whole, is both pleasurable and painful, indulgent and subversive: "She peels the polish off her nails. In sheets. / He peels the tights from her thighs. / She appeals her parking ticket. / She peels a grape. She scrapes. She rinds. / She grates a lemon for zest. / She grates on my nerves [...] / She trips and skins her palms on the sidewalk. / Sheet rips. / She stains."
Much like The Fleece Era, Catriona Strang's Corked explores identity by mapping the self through time, place, and relationships. Whereas The Fleece Era explores the identity of women by making the body grotesque, Corked also grotesques language, even deconstructing it at times: "Why so fence-fond? / Why so trowel-lick? / Sucky Mull, dear Sucky Mull / was hell so specific?" Corked explores both the private and the political, the personal as well as the cultural memory, and she does so with a sharp edge: "In our District of Neo-Logistical / streamlined and ultra-ideological / survey, one certain / fact arises: / gigantic / intrusions." Most noticeably, Lilley captures the embodiment of experience, as best illustrated by the poem "Memor" and, in doing so, transforms a life into a landscape: "there is no longer any record of my capacity for retaining / perpetuating, or / reviving, it all / passes through memorial to become / once more without."