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.
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
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.
IADYSAWTS is a collection of poetry on the grief of a relationship ending, which also explores family and mental illness. Carrie. A. Nation is a poem on addiction, and its legacy. For Vincent Van Gogh, Patron Saint of Psychotic Manic Depressives weaves Van Gogh’s story with the narrator’s diagnosis of manic depression. These are only two poems to pick out, there are so many I enjoyed in this collection. The poems are a mix of long and short. The stanzas in the poems are so well written, and so satisfying to read. The EMOTIONS this book took me through too. IADYSAWTS is one of my favourite collections of poetry.
Why am I always asked
to describe my madness
as though this condition was
not the absence of reason
and its language?
In a Dream you Saw a Way to Survive by Clementine Von Radics