The title of this slender debut chapbook gives off a whiff of seduction and promised delight, and whilst it is not sin that Morag Anderson is serving up in these thirty-three brief pages dripping with senses and emotions, she very much seduces with calm, concise writing amongst all the storms that are erupting and bashing her characters around. This fully stocked cast of, one assumes, dramatis personae seems to be constantly enduring things that happened to them, rather than possessing the agency to control the things that happen. Yet endure they always seem to do, despite themselves on occasion, emerging triumphant and in full poetic voice ready to sing of these forbearances and victories.
These are poems where nothing much seems to happen on the surface, yet when they intrude, like slow gentle ripples, into the consciousness of the reader, they explode and clout you about the senses, announcing their business as they do, showering the reader with shards of insight into the modern condition.
Whilst initially you may have some sympathy for the titular character of “Last supper with Sarah,” it is a poem that seduces and wraps itself around you until you get to the denouement when you discover that Sarah is almost certainly a much-deserving recipient of the punishment being meted out to her.
For days after my first read of these poems, my head was full of echoes of Morag Anderson’s poems that I just couldn’t shake, each wave full of poetry that I had enjoyed and needed to mull over. She also owns that super-power, that electrical surge in her nib, that can re-cast the apparently mundane into something of fascination worthy of interest and celebration. I’m not sure there is a better compliment for a book, or for a poet.
Matt Nunn is the author of five poetry collections, the latest of which is St. Judes College Reject (RedSox Press). He works as a freelance writing tutor, writing coach, editor and writer and teaches Creative Writing at Solihull College and has performed his work on TV, radio and a million different venues, to audiences big and small, enthusiastic and indifferent, for over 25 years. He’s still amazed at how he gets away with it all.
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