You can only be told how
eloquently you express grief so many times
before you start to feel like a pain farm
- From “Spanish” by Kimmy Walters
‘Uptalk’, the linguistic term from the same stable as vocal frying, is the habit of raising the tone in your voice towards the end of a sentence, essentially making everything seem like a question. Walters needs no such vocal gymnastics to make us sit up and pay attention.
Her poems are different, but not wilfully; they’re naturally different. Nothing’s forced here. The poems are pacy, well-timed vignettes where the protagonist tries to bottle steam from the shower to throw at a lover and finds herself lost in pondering in ‘a huge bus with my huge face’.
The poem ‘Spanish’ resonated deeply with this reviewer. Our shared memory of Spanish teachers censoring sex and death with translucent cardboard resonates. As did the sound and blurred images leaking ‘redly’ through the speakers and paper.
Walters is a master of a carefully constructed see-saw of emotions culminating in the teeter-tottering lines of startling clarity in “Bloody Mary”
‘…momentarily, you forget
the meaning of ‘blanket’ and assume
A small blankness. ‘
On every read you’ll tip a different way. Don’t you think?