Raft - by Anne Gill
Bad Betty Press
Poetry can get you by the throat. The preface to Raft by Anne Gill ambushes you. There is a confusion-- the shock of violence and dislocation so that when you turn past the preface to the title page, marked only ‘Raft’, you understand that word to encompass the paradox of escape and survival but also isolation, and loneliness.
The poems explore the fluid nature of trauma--how it floods from the past into the present--doing this through a series of narrative voices at times childlike, but most often told through the character/voice of ‘Penguin 2’. Penguin 2 links together the poems in the book, anchoring it as it strays into anxiety, trauma, recollection and the struggle to step back from the cliff edge.
What Gill’s writing does most poignantly, is to touch on the absurd and mismatched solutions which are sometimes proffered as life rafts to those in the midst of acute trauma in poems such as Green Trauma Bear and Penguin 2 is Told to Write a Gratitude Journal.
Penguin 2 Is Told to Write a Gratitude Journal is one of the few poems in the collection written in the first person and one of the most powerful in its acceleration through the narrator’s thoughts which quickly pass, with a kind of dark humour, through the jumble of the mundane
I bought a cheese sandwich with my good luck and it didn’t have
much cheese in it which is good because some people are lactose intolerant I got a plain very dry
sandwich with my good luck and it meant I drank water and I should drink more water I am grateful for water
until they lay bare with horrific clarity the, until now, unspoken:
I am grateful that I can’t stop remembering the rape at the time
of the rape I was wearing old clothes I am grateful I was probably
going to throw them out anyway I am grateful that I shower more
and I am grateful for cleanliness and I am grateful he didn’t
kill me and I am grateful it only happened once and I am
grateful that it didn’t happen to my son I am grateful that it didn’t
happen to my son I am so grateful that it didn’t happen to my son
A skillful and moving first collection which will provoke you with the starkness of its vulnerability.
Website for Bad Betty Press
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]