Holly Pester’s debut collection of poems chronicles the experience of living and working as a radical and resistant act. They shunt a reader between the political and personal via unique, fragmentary and illusory turns of phrase. Holly tackles marginal bodies, landlords, bog butter, desire, domestic and civic spaces in an unique and illusory voice. She chronicles the prevailing mood of our times, mining radical and anarchic histories to offer a collection of political resistance with both absurdity and seriousness.
When Louis Pasteur observed the process of fermentation, he noted that, while most organisms perished from lack of oxygen, some were able to thrive as ‘life without air’. In this collection, characters and scenes traverse states of airlessness, from suffocating relationships and institutions, to toxic environments and ecstatic asphyxiations. Both compassionate and ecologically nuanced, it bridges poetry and prose to interrogate the conditions necessary for survival.
In ‘Rendang’, Will Harris complicates and experiments with the lyric in a way that urges it forward. With an unflinching yet generous eye, ‘Rendang’ is a collection that engages equally with the pain and promise of self-perception. Drawing on his Anglo-Indonesian heritage, Harris shows us new ways to think about the contradictions of identity and cultural memory. He creates companions that speak to us in multiple languages; they sit next to us on the bus, walk with us through the crowd and talk to us while we’re chopping shallots. They deftly ask us to consider how and what we look at, as well as what we don’t look at and why. Playing eruditely with and querying structures of narrative, with his use of the long poem, images, ekphrasis, and ruptured forms, ‘Rendang’ is a startling new take on the self, and how an identity is constructed.