the flat next door – at number 18 –
has been empty for some time
and we had given up thinking that anybody was going to move in –
until they arrived –
in a small blue car – a pair of dice dangling in the windscreen
with two garden chairs they pulled from the back seats
which they left on the patio
and then their belongings in binbags
which they piled onto the grass
until the car boot was empty –
we use the curtain for cover – through the window
trying to get a glimpse –
are they young – a couple – married –
do they play music at a loud volume at Midnight?
we’ll have to see.
Here Comes the Sun was published in 2017 on this day.
I didn’t follow any particular process writing Here Comes the Sun. I wrote the poems in this book on loose pieces of paper, while I was in different countries in Europe. Some of the poems were my reflecting on things and others – scenes that were unfolding at the time. I think this was one of the first chapbooks I put together that had a strong theme. I had written a lot of love poems previously, when I was a baby poet and posting on Tumblr. There are still poems on love in this book, but not as many. There are poems that have humour, are silly and a section of micro-poems too.
When I was putting together the poems in Here Comes the Sun I took care in editing the poems and, in saying them out loud, making sure they sounded right too. I find the movement in traveling, from train to subway to airport etc, exhilarating, so I tried to capture that.
People say ‘oh, you wrote a book,’ and treat it as if it is an achievement. I used to shit on that and say ‘it’s nothing,’ That’s BS. Writing a book takes a lot of courage, a lot of I don’t know what I am doing but I want to be able to communicate with you, the reader, and cause you to see something in a different way or feel emotions. It takes a lot of emotional labour. There is trauma in my poems on travel and I don’t talk about it. Being vulnerable can lead people to use that as a method to hurt you.
Here Comes the Sun, as a phrase, means all the good stuff to me, like hope and being alive and sunshine and summer and beaches and stepping out of an airport into a different country and feeling fresh air.
Buy the book through this link here
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Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiance has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.
Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, apples and tea bags, this inventive novel builds a picture of a woman defined by the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, Ruth needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.
With her fresh unpredictable style, Franchini skewers modern relationships and toxic masculinity, moving effortlessly between humour and heartbreak to tell the story of a woman rebuilding herself on her own terms.
Oh no, this is going to be negative.
First off, the synopsis isn’t accurate. Don’t expect what the synopsis tells you.
I wasn’t sure about the shopping list idea, its execution. The book has the narrative in the format of dreams and emails. Skipped some of that because I didn’t find it relevant.
The characters are not likable. Ruth is the protagonist and I liked her in some of the parts of the book. I could relate to her confusion of social cues, friendships and sexual experiences. It took me a while to read Shelf Life because I felt disinterested and distant from the characters. Ruth’s ex is a worry. He’s a worrying character.
There is no doubt the writing is excellent. It might be enough for me to read another book in the future by the author. The hardback book, which I borrowed from my public library, is beautiful. The story itself was muddled.
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Split into 2 chapters – the EP & the LP, Alicia Cook takes us through a landscape of joy, pain and triumph in I Hope my Voice Doesn’t Skip. The subjects were varied – from family and home, to nostalgia, love and world events. There were poems with grief as a subject, which made me reflect on my own losses. Some of the poems on love, of first love – such as Traffic, Signs gave me feels. There are small details that characterise the writing – mentions of straw wrappers, squid ink and saltwater. The second part features writers, Christina Hart and J. R. Rouge, for example. There were some very assured poems in this part of the book.
There were a couple of poems I didn’t like, and I would expect that. This was the first book I had read by Alicia Cook and it won’t be the last. I found her poems were compelling, uplifting – they gave me strength and I’m sure if I read this book again I would find something new to like.
‘a testament to remembering where you came from,
but understanding you do not have to stay there,’