This is a vast collection of poetry on grief, loss and place. I don’t think I have read anything like it. I did struggle to connect emotionally with the poems, but I didn’t dislike them. The way the poems were written, and the images in the poems were stunning. I love how poets can take one idea and run with it. This seemed evident in The Sea Refuses no River. For example, in poem It’s not about the Broccoli. The Gate at Shrewsbury was one of my favourite poems in this collection.
In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journeys. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck’, and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’
She had fallen in love once. It had cost her
She spent years befriending the river:
It was her only escape
The Sea Refuses no River – Bethany Rivers
I would certainly want to read more from Bethany Rivers. I was so intrigued after reading The Sea Refuses no River.
I was sorting through a bunch of papers and wondering which had stuff written on them I needed to keep and use or throw away. It was a lot because I thought why do I let months and months of writing and ideas and scribbles build up until one point in September I decide to go through and tidy up. How can I expect to work through months of ideas in two weeks, because I set myself silly deadlines? No-wonder I feel so unmotivated. It becomes overwhelming. I ask how many copies of one manuscript do I need to hold on to? Really? And the phrase for that is what I do not want to let go of. It’s the same with articles I tear from magazines, books, screenshots, tabs and pins.
It’s as if I am holding on to the concept of these ideas and these inspirations but I am not letting them go. I am collecting.
A few days ago, it took me 4 and a half hours, but I changed all my passwords. It had been something on my to do list for so long and I had been putting it off. It meant I wasn’t erasing my history because I didn’t want to be signed out of certain sites. I mean, that is just lazy.
But the relief I felt once I had done it. I could finally check off that task on the to do list. Bye bitch. Now it doesn’t take up room in my head, it isn’t something I constantly think have to do that have to do that and I don’t have to worry about it.
It is the same with my clothes. I wear the same t-shirts to bed and I wear the same t-shirts during the day. I have a wardrobe, which is where I hang up the clothes I don’t wear because they don’t fit. Why am I keeping them? I like bits of the clothes. I like the colour or the image in my head of what I could look like wearing them or – I don’t know.
Why am I like this?
What sort of void is collecting filling? Is it a comfort thing? A I don’t want to have nothing so I better grab what I can?
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
do you ever feel like you want to hide yourself away from the world?
shut the curtains, put on yr baggiest tshirt
& climb into bed
because you feel too stupid too ugly too at odds with the world.
These were the last words I wrote, before I shut down my laptop and stopped having an interest in life. I had even forgotten the password to my laptop. I have been so depressed this monthweek year. My bathroom is looking disgusting. August, my birthday month, was shit. I am not looking forward to the autumn or winter because SAD makes its annual appearance. If it is going to be as bad as this depression was then Lord knows what is going to happen to me. I should hibernate until next March.
I regained some motivation for blogging and what happens? My Wi-Fi goes missing. Not that that is new. My Wi-Fi is useless.
I am struggling with the thought I am now 25 and my life is still in pieces. I don’t know what I’m doing. It is like I am trying to get out of this stuck position, but the head and the body are not together on that. It feels like there’s nobody who can help because I’m an adult and should have gotten my life together by now. I do realise my anxiety is also very limiting. I think about how close I am to poverty, death, homelessness. If I don’t figure shit out then I am not going anywhere but down. How do you even start to fix that when depression leaves you feeling dead inside?
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.