As Kerr writes at the beginning of Carnival Games, this is not a book about love. This is a book about abuse, and Kerr makes a point not to romanticise the relationship described in the poems. Kerr spills vulnerabilities into her writing of a relationship that was toxic, and questions how she got to that point: "the twists and turns / are enough to drive anyone
to the edge," being controlled: "be the master of the puppet / and I'll be your marionette," and triggers: "-my triggers are not yours to pull."
The carnival theme is a subtle one, with rollercoasters and distorting mirrors used as metaphors. Kerr writes the truth in her poems, and in the final lines she scorches the page with a put-down. These provide a good balance, and context.
The book finishes strongly, with Kerr regaining her power, and flourishing again. The epilogue chapter is something special all on its own, and I was captivated by what I was reading. An excellent, triumphant debut from D. E. Kerr.
About the reviewer
Born with a pen in her hand, Katie Lewington has continued to write since the year dot, and develop her unique style of writing. She has self-published several chapbooks of poetry on her travels, experiences of love, and humorous food-themed pieces too. She works on her blog The Poetry Hub reviewing books, sharing poetry, and interviewing writers.