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Book of the Week: Rope

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

"Rope is the debut of a unique lyric voice -- inventive and varied, rich in imagery, and always rooted in a searching intelligence. These beautifully written poems fizz with all the 'shimmer and jazz’ of modern life." Jane Yeh

Khairani Barokka’s first full poetry collection, Rope, is a spellbinding and impressive debut, kaleidoscopic in detail and richly compelling. With a meticulous artist’s instinct, these finely-tuned poems ask urgent questions about our impact upon the environment, and examine carefully the fragile ties that bind our lives and our fate to our planet, our ecosystems and to our fellow humans. 

Sensual and ecologically attentive, Rope draws on issues of climate change, sexuality, violence, nature, desire and the body. Lush with detail, alert to its own distinct sounds, this is poetry in urgent and vivacious action - intent on finding vivid joy and hope amidst the destruction and dangers of the Anthropocene era.

You can buy Rope here

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Book of the Week: Abandon

Posted on October 23, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

A powerful novel from Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, the author of Panty, about a woman who runs away from home, seeking to free herself from the shackles of society and familial attachments, and instead devote her attentions to writing a novel.

When she realises that her five year old son Roo has followed her, Ishwari struggles with her identity and responsibilities as a mother, versus the guilty knowledge that she cannot want her own child when his existence requires her to suppress her own dreams.

Ishwari and Roo wander the streets at night, looking for a place to stay, until an elderly caretaker takes pity on them and offers them an empty room on the terrace of a guest house. Ishwari gets work as a caregiver to the handsome gentleman who lives next door, while Roo, who is lame, spends all day locked up in the room on the roof. Pulsating with raw energy, Abandon gives voice to the perpetual conflict between life and art.

You can buy Abandon here

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Book of the Week: Your Silence Will Not Protect You

Posted on October 16, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

Your Silence Will Not Protect You collects the essential essays and poems of Audre Lorde for the first time, including the classic ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’.

Her lyrical and incisive prose takes on sexism, racism, homophobia, and class; reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope that remain ever-more trenchant today. Also a celebrated poet, Lorde was New York State Poet Laureate until her death; her poetry and prose together produced an aphoristic and incomparably quotable style, as evidenced by her constant presence on many Women’s Marches against Trump across the world.

A trailblazer in intersectional feminism, Lorde’s luminous writings have influenced a new generation of thinkers and writers charged by the Black Lives Matter movement. Thirty years after they were first published, this beautiful edition honours how Lorde's work continues to resonate and inspire.

You can buy Your Silence Will Not Protect You here

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Book of the Week: We Need to Talk

Posted on October 09, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

We Need to Talk is a poetry collection on sexual violence, survivorship and solidarity. On gender-based violence and genuine social change. On things that are hushed and need to be spoken of with empathy - and fact-checking.

Poet Agnes Török writes honestly and courageously about lived experience and statistical societal structure, inviting the reader to reflect and join in the conversation on how to end gender-based violence. With sections speaking directly to victims and survivors, and directly to their friends and families, We Need To Talk is an empathic engagement with an experience shared by 1 in 3 women, 1 in 2 trans and non-binary people, and 1 in 5 men – sexual violence.

Török discusses issues surrounding the normalisation of violence through economics, politics and online activity, and challenges the logic by which most of us personally know a victim of sexual assault or abuse, but few of us will believe we know any perpetrators.

Writing exercises for those affected by gender-based violence are also included, because making art is a form of speaking. And We Need To Talk.

You can buy We Need to Talk here

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Book of the Week: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Posted on October 02, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

Vladimir Mayakovsky's Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is a 3,000 line epic poem which provides an extraordinary record of the utopian excitement of the early revolutionary years – as well a warning that Lenin should not become an icon.

Written immediately after Lenin's death in 1924, it proudly and passionately sets the story of the Bolshevik leader’s life against the history of capitalism and the trajectory of Soviet communism.

After initially appearing in Soviet newspapers, it became Mayakovsky's most celebrated work, with a public reading at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1930 receiving a 20 minute standing ovation. Out of print in English for over thirty years, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin remains relatively unknown in the west, but based on Dorian Rottenberg’s 1967 translation, Rosy Carrick’s new bi-lingual edition of the poem firmly re-establishes Mayakovsky’s reputation as one the most important political poets of the twentieth century.

You can buy Vladimir Ilyich Lenin here

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