Monday 8 February 2021

Review by Vic Pickup of "Feverfew" by Anna Saunders

So hotly anticipated was Anna Saunders’s Feverfew that I’d already bought it when a review copy landed in my inbox. I wasn’t disappointed; the cover says it all – scorching, mystical, full of powerful connections – there’s a lot to see here. 

Indeed, if it’s dazzling imagery you’re after, Feverfew is rich with bejewelled moments. The poet’s talent for gorgeous, vivid description shines throughout the collection, right from the opening poem ‘What I Learnt from the Owl’: 

          how to hunt in silken plumage
          tooled up with talons and hooks

          how to split the seam of the night
          with saw-tooth wings

          how to consume all I kill
          yet stay hungry.

Magical lines are scattered throughout all these poems, as we read of Icarus in ‘Now the Earth is an Embering Coal’: ‘when he hit the sun, the feathered sky wept.’ 

Saunders even manages to turn the darkly humorous into a thing of beauty, as in ‘Hades Justifies His Off-Roader’:

          Not the winged martyrs that collide
          with his windscreen

          turned angelic white as they are picked out
          In his headlights

          before glistening like broken berries
          When they hit the road.

Just as the poet’s description of Hades mowing down innocents in his 4x4 still manages to be both  beautiful and amusing, so does her portrayal in ‘The Ghosts of Intimacy Fuck on my Bed’:

          I am thinking how they could not get any closer
          when in a quick dart she slips into him,

          slides under his tracing-paper skin, to be subsumed
          into his heart as they soar above.

Many the poems in Feverfew are political and mythological creatures are a regular feature. What holds the body together is their boldness, rawness, at once stark and glittering. 

Saunders's work is wild and honest; as reviewer Stephanie Jane wrote, some poems seem so personal that reading them feels like 'staring into a stranger’s window.' Whether the subjects of these poems are real or imagined, the poet has delivered each one with flare, creating a collection full of stunning observations which linger in the heart and head. 

About the reviewer 
Vic Pickup is a previous winner of the Café Writers and Cupid’s Arrow Competitions, and shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruth prize on YouTube. Lost & Found is Vic’s debut pamphlet, published by Hedgehog Poetry Press and featuring Pushcart-nominated poem ‘Social Distancing.’ She is on Twitter @vicpickup and her website is here. You can read a review of Vic's pamphlet on Everybody's Reviewing here

No comments:

Post a Comment