Monday 1 November 2021

Review by Cathi Rae of "A Voice Coming from Then" by Jeremy Dixon

I have been carrying this book with me for weeks now, carefully transferring it from bag to rucksack to bike basket, partly because I wanted to be able to dip into it again and again, but also because, somehow, I wanted to take care of the child / the boy / the young man in this work.

This is not an easy collection – it comes with trigger warnings of suicide and bullying – and includes description of the author’s suicide attempt age fifteen, teenage diary entries, notes from teachers and psychiatrists and heart-breaking contemporary statistics on suicide and mental illness amongst young LGBTQA+ people.

These poems are deceptively simple with razor sharp observation, brutal honesty  and a deftness of touch that gives space for the reader to understand both what is said and what is left unsaid. It would be easy for a less skilled poet to create a collection that shouts its polemical heart – and yes, of course, there’s anger and sadness here. Many of the poems commemorate a gay male world as AIDS / HIV took hold and a time period where being identifiably gay was still enough to fear violence, bullying and prejudice – but they are also a celebration of love and toughness and survival and managing grief.

I am delighted, beyond delighted that the fifteen-year-old Jeremy’s suicide attempt failed – actually I’m delighted when anyone is able to come back from that brink of despair – because now we have this collection and it’s beautiful and important and needs to be read.

About the reviewer
Cathi Rae is a spoken word artist and poet. Her debut collection is Your Cleaner Hates You and Other Poems (Soulful Publishing, 2019). She is currently working on an M4C-funded Creative Writing PhD at the University of Leicester on telling marginalised lives through poetry.

You can read a review of Cathi's collection on Everybody's Reviewing here

No comments:

Post a Comment