Fat Like The Sun – Anna Swir
I was in my 30s and hadn’t read poetry since school – where all the poets fed us were male and dead. A friend gave me this. Anna Swir was Polish, born in 1909 into a very patriarchal society. She wrote about women. Ordinary women. Their bodies. Their sexuality. Giving birth. Real lives. All in the most pared back, sensitive style. I found this collection explosive.
Political poetry. Poetry against injustice. Poems embracing humanity. As a working class child in Scotland I’d been made to feel ashamed of my language and culture, as a young woman I had to fight for rights women still lacked. Reading such a political poetic voice was wonderful. Inspirational. Yes! Poetry could be powerful!
I first read her poetry in 1990. I get bowled over by how she comes sliding in at unusual angles with images and lines so sharp you could cut yourself on them. High calibre imagination and intellect combined with amazing language precision. Poems that resonate so loudly afterwards you think you’ve got tinnitus.
This Script – Jenny Lindsay
Jenny Lindsay is a performance poet. This Script exists in two separate forms – as poetry collection and as show. In both, it’s a tour de force. Feminist, political, passionate. Articulate and playful with form, metaphor and language. Jenny’s not afraid to take risks. In fact, she’s fearless. She takes the unholy trinity of female, feminism and femininity by the scruff of the neck, eyeballs it, and creates poetry from the glorious tussle that ensues.
You go in at the start of an Ali Whitelock poem thinking, this is a breeze. And emerge a page or two later with your assumptions challenged, your emotions jolted as if from a live pylon wire. Whitelock writes in a way that fucks your brain sideways, with side dishes of sharp wit, off-kilter metaphors and deeply humane observations on the human condition. Despite their often fast-paced-I’m just-chatting-to-you appearance, make no mistake, these are beautifully crafted, each designed to deliver its emotional cargo intact.
Scottish poet Magi Gibson has five collections published, including the popular Wild Women of a Certain Age. The National in Scotland described her latest, Washing Hugh MacDiarmid’s Socks as “A joy to read”. Her sixth collection will be published in September 2020. She won the Scotland on Sunday/Women 2000 Poetry Prize, has held three Scottish Arts Council Writing Fellowships, has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, and Writer in Residence in Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art and with Glasgow Women’s Library. Poems appear in many anthologies, including Modern Scottish Women Poets, Scottish Love Poems (both Canongate) and The Twentieth Century Book of Scottish Poetry (Edinburgh University Press). Currently she co-edits The Poets’ Republic. An experienced tutor and performer, she also runs Wild Women Writing workshops. http://www.magigibson.co.uk