The world of Beauty/Beauty is ‘built from the nose/out, like a painting’, accumulating its various feelings, ideas, objects, disappointments and joys to the point of almost overflowing. Preoccupied with demise and loss, as well as reimagination and regeneration, Rebecca Perry’s debut collection has the duality and symmetry of its title at its core.
Beauty/Beauty is a book with tenderness running through its veins, exploring salvation, reparation and the fullness of being alive; the difficulty of defining what love is, the heartbreak, the faraway friends, the overwhelming abundance of things in museums. It is alive with memories, with old loves hanging around in the corners of dark rooms, ghost mouths hidden inside the mouth you are kissing, and eulogies to dearly departed pets.
Each poem creates its own tiny world to be lived in and explored; a stegosaurus is adored, a million silver spiders play dead, a list of flowers is not really a list of flowers, adorable dogs want to be friends, the flightless grow wings, and the stars turn green.
’Rebecca Perry’s Beauty/Beauty is, immediately, a vivid and charming book – but it is also doing something new. Its readers will find that Perry has invented and made her own a kind of poem which seems to have a white fracture in it, a formal manoeuvring that accentuates the tenderness and intelligence of this remarkable debut. Not since Jo Shapcott’s Electroplating the Baby or Simon Armitage’s Zoom! has a poet emerged with such a distinctive, original voice’ – John McAuliffe
Poetry Book Society Recommendation