Book Review. Persona Non Grata Edited by Isabelle Kenyon

I love reading anthologies for 2 reasons.

1. Sampling poems from writers who are not familiar to me and 2. Anthologies, not all, but some raise money for charities.

The proceeds from Persona Non Grata go to Crisis Aid and Shelter. 2 very important causes.

Persona Non Grata has a number of quality poems from an outsider view of people in our society, encompassing disability, age, family, mental illness, homelessness, refugees and LGBTQ+ people. Hopefully it can encourage the reader to reflect on the reality of other people’s lives and their struggles.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Persona Non Grata is packed with exceptional poets writing on the theme of social exclusion.

With interpretations exploring our refugee crises globally, physical and mental illness, homelessness, addiction and family estrangement, the anthology will fundraise for two important and vital charities: ‘Shelter’ and ‘Crisis Aid UK’.

“We are delighted that ‘Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes charity anthologies- and anthology ‘Persona Non Grata’ is packed with poetry inspired by the concept of social exclusion. Without support such as this, we would not be able to support the people who reach out to us for help with housing issues and homelessness. Thank you so much to everyone involved.”

– Lindsay Tilston Jones, Regional Community Fundraiser: Manchester

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Book Review. Poetry Collection – Bittersweet by Wanda Deglane.

Book Review

Bittersweet

By Wanda Deglane

Wanda Deglane is one of my favourite writers and the poems in this book show why. The poems in Bittersweet are written about the experiences of being female, which include our bodies, periods, sex and boys. The subjects all intersect, and it demonstrates their knock-on effect on each other.

I think sometimes you can feel as if you are going mad – is what I am experiencing been experienced by other people? I rarely read poems that mention periods and it feels like a taboo subject to write about. In poem Training Bras Wanda Deglane writes ‘we hardly remember the day our bodies start changing, the slippery moment of bones and organs shifting and expanding from tiny slender girl to this soft, fleshy thing,’ I remember when my body began to change, I hated it. Puberty made me feel suicidal. It has been a relief to peel back layers of shame while reading Bittersweet. To that end Bittersweet has immeasurable worth to me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
book cover image Bittersweet by Wanda Deglane
photo credit Katie Lewington
https://ko-fi.com/klpoetry

Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

Outsider – a poem

Poem published in SUBROSA Curated by Estefania Schubert & Ingrid M. Calderón-Collins ✍️
TW suicide & self-harm.

This poem pretty much sums up my feelings of being an outsider. I have never felt secure with people, in friendships and it’s all been a fight to fit in, to be accepted and keep a straight face and not appear too ‘weird’. To be honest, looking back I think all of us kids were trying hard to fit in, because it was all about the hierarchy and being cool in school. Better to be in than out. I used to get bullied because I was naive, was shy and wouldn’t stand up for myself, I would believe what people were telling me … about myself. I gave up trying to make friends by the time I was 13 & social isolation accelerated my depression. Social isolation and depression made me both suicidal and self-harm. As did the dysphoria puberty gave me.


I was full of self-pity & hatred because no-one seemed to be able to help or understand me. I didn’t understand why I was struggling to function. I was walking around feeling I was repeatedly being smacked around the head with a frying pan.
Teachers only saw me as a pain in the backside, who wouldn’t do their work & would disrupt lessons. I spent so many years denying any feelings I had, feeling it was my fault & thinking no-one liked me because what is there to like?
It’s amazing& sad, looking back, at how much of how I behaved & thought was depression and stigma and shame and loneliness and what people had told me I was and should do.

I don’t need to carry that shit anymore!!!!!!
I don’t need to keep destroying myself.

at the door – a poem

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

my backpack sits slumped over

from where it was thrown –

coming in from going out –

gathering dust –

and when lockdown was announced

there the backpack remained –

the shoes piled around it,

like loose stones around a rock –

the contents of time suspended –

loose mints, and receipts –

a water bottle, and pens separated

from their lids –

pads and wipes –

lip balm –

a notebook –

and until i remembered

to throw it in the bin –

some days later –

a half-eaten lunch –

i didn’t dare to peel back the foil it was wrapped in.

Kate ©