Book Review The Woman with an Owl Tattoo by Anne Walsh Donnelly.

This life-affirming poetry collection reflects on the author’s growth since the ending of her marriage and what it means to unearth one’s true sexual orientation, in mid-life. Anne Walsh Donnelly’s intimate exploration of sexuality and identity is both brave and touching, marking this debut collection as a triumph.

“Anne Walsh Donnelly is by far the most daring poet to emerge in Ireland of late. The starkly honest and overt sexuality which pervades Anne’s poetry make the work of pretty much all her contemporaries appear repressed and backward-looking in comparison. This publication would certainly have been banned in the Ireland of the past. Indeed, she is one of the few poets around whose work has the glorious ability to get moralistic, supposedly liberal eyebrows twitching. Anne’s poems are pretty perfectly formed hand grenades which she tosses about the place with abandon while maintaining a deadpan face. I think this publication is the beginning of something great.” Kevin Higgins, author of Song of Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2017).

TWWAOT is an astonishing collection of poetry by Anne Walsh Donnelly. The poems talk of the end of a marriage, to a discovery of sexuality and identity. Animals feature in a few of the poems, with the setting being a farm.  I loved the imagery in poems Tawny Owl and Metamorphosis, After Franz Kafka. There are a series of poems in TWWAOT, with a range of different scenarios, titled Coming out to my therapist, myself, my son, my daughter, mother, and father. They have the varying reactions to the narrator coming out as a lesbian. They also have dialogue. I love dialogue in poems.

Lava formed sills on my surface,

flushed my cheeks, just as my plates

were supposed to settle and glide into old age

a woman’s touch smashed my crust

The Woman with an Owl Tattoo by Anne Walsh Donnelly

I like TWWAOT is a voice from an older woman. I think it is important to have visible LGBTQ + voices from people of all ages, to be able to talk about the different challenges we all face, and to appreciate being our true selves is a brave act.

photo credit Kate Lewington

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3 LGBT+ poetry collections

A debut poetry chapbook exploring queer realisation, self-discovery, and search for acceptance. This sapphic collection features poems ‘Attraction’ and ‘Fraud’ first published by Royal Rose Magazine and ‘TV’ featured in Issue 3 of Constellate Literary Journal. This book was previously published under the pseudonym Elfie. Book Depository

This life-affirming poetry collection reflects on the author’s growth since the ending of her marriage and what it means to unearth one’s true sexual orientation, in mid-life. Anne Walsh Donnelly’s intimate exploration of sexuality and identity is both brave and touching, marking this debut collection as a triumph.; “Anne Walsh Donnelly is by far the most daring poet to emerge in Ireland of late. The starkly honest and overt sexuality which pervades Anne’s poetry make the work of pretty much all her contemporaries appear repressed and backward-looking in comparison. This publication would certainly have been banned in the Ireland of the past. Indeed, she is one of the few poets around whose work has the glorious ability to get moralistic, supposedly liberal eyebrows twitching. Anne’s poems are pretty perfectly formed hand grenades which she tosses about the place with abandon while maintaining a deadpan face. I think this publication is the beginning of something great.” Kevin Higgins, author of Song of Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2017). Book Depository

“As a poet, Aeon Ginsberg is resourceful with language and imagery, finding metaphor and anecdote where the reader had previously thought language had already dredged all it could out of that instance; as a vocally transgender poet, Aeon Ginsberg is a poignantly necessary voice. There is often a lot of talk in literary communities about what makes a “trans poem” a “trans poem,” and while the majority of Aeon’s poems mention they are trans somewhere within the text, there is never a sense of force or plea; rather, while Aeon’s gender is influential in all aspects of their work, it does not define their work. Aeon’s work is instead profoundly influenced by the daunting task of humanizing and unraveling trauma, from abusive relationships to harassment by customers at their food-service job, and throughout their narrative, Aeon never lies to their audience or sugarcoats the circumstance. Instead, Aeon presents their truth unflinchingly, letting the audience know they’ve got some heavy shit to talk about, but it’s our choice if we want to listen. And goddamn, I am positive y’all will want to listen.” ​–Linette Reeman, writer, performer, Aries. Publisher Link

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

No Fee List of Submission Calls


Peach Street Mag

DEADLINE 27TH of June Theme Dystopia / ACCEPTS short stories, comment pieces and reviews

Analogies & Allegories Lit Mag

DEADLINE 30th of June Theme Transformation / ACCEPTS art, photography, poetry and prose

Perhappened Mag

DEADLINE 6th of July Theme Road Trip / ACCEPTS poetry, prose

Fourteen Poems

DEADLINE 7th of July PAYING / ACCEPTS Poetry

Omelette Mag

OPENS July 8th Theme Beginnings / ACCEPTS poetry, prose, flash fiction, creative non-fic


beyond appearance

Before I get to the poem I’m going to share, J.K. Rowling. She wrote some transphobic tweets and then went further in writing more of her views on her website. I in no way agree with her. When I read what she wrote I wanted to vomit. People will read that and agree with her because they are also misinformed. She didn’t even include the sources of her information. I’m raging. And I don’t even want to think about Harry Potter right now.

Urgh.


age, sexuality, gender –

is this all you want to talk about?


what is that, are they together – wonder what their family think


all that is in an age are numbers

for organisation,

we cannot all be born at once, you see


dare i ask

what of love –


what if they love one another?


perhaps what you see goes beyond appearance –

is not binary –

or what you believe –

based on perception


what if it is love –

do you think before you love?


what a shame


our heart has more sense than our prejudice.


Book Haul

I’m poor, I don’t usually buy books brand new and so it was a real treat buying a few in August and September.

August

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The Woman with an Owl Tattoo by Anne Walsh Donnelly.

This life-affirming poetry collection reflects on the author’s growth since the ending of her marriage and what it means to unearth one’s true sexual orientation, in mid-life. Anne Walsh Donnelly’s intimate exploration of sexuality and identity is both brave and touching, marking this debut collection as a triumph.

Will you Still Love me if I Love her by Elfie

A debut poetry chapbook exploring queer realisation, self-discovery, and search for acceptance. This sapphic collection features poems ‘Attraction’ and ‘Fraud’ first published by Royal Rose Magazine and ‘TV’ featured in Issue 3 of Constellate Literary Journal.

Lady Saturn by Wanda Deglane

Lady Saturn by contemporary poet Wanda Deglane is in itself a navigation through depression and anxiety to find love – the utmost important self-love. These personal poems traverse the backdrop of what it means to be born into chaos, to feel unwanted and unloved, to be constantly seeking and attempting self-discovery, to struggle to sleep with a racing mind or to defeat depression and anxiety with the help of a pill that makes her brain like her ‘mother’s old microwave, / constantly short-circuiting and casting the whole room / in darkness.’ Take this quest through beautiful, lyrical stanzas and vivid imagery depicting pain, trauma, depression, anxiety, and a deep yearning to land softly at a place on the verge of inner acceptance and love, just the way you are, seeking that happy-go-lucky soul you once inhabited.

September

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Potential by Isabelle Kenyon

Published as part of the much-loved Ghost City Press summer series, Isabelle Kenyon’s micro chapbook is a brave and prickly collection which touches on new relationships, the-thing-between-her-legs and sexual assault. Light in tone, it is an exploration of the wonderful and the horrible things which can occur alongside love.

the sea refuses no river by Bethany Rivers

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.’