I was delighted to win a copy of In the Kettle, the Shriek from Hannah in a competition she ran on her Storialist blog. (You can see my winning photo on my Shapeshifting Green blog).
This is a lovely book, the front cover is hauntingly beautiful. Hannah's poems are conversational in tone and thought-provoking, many of them drawing the reader in by asking questions or making suggestions.
Hannah finds inspiration all around, often from visual art (when she posts poems onto The Storialist, she links through to the artwork that inspired the poem). 5 Second Rule was inspired by a trip to the laundromat and the very entertaining Suddenly, Pasta Salad was inspired by the brand name of a pasta salad, making the reader ponder about the odd names that brands are often given:
occurence of noodles
and diced vegetables.
Great Migrations was inspired by the design on a porcelain bowl
in the stock still water, feeling no wind,
cranes panic and launch, beat their wings
with such force that nearby villagers
mistake them for dragons.
Several other of the poems in this book include references to nature. I love this from In Silos:
...we are also stocked with the ability
to feel astonished at how
blossoms and leaves are tucked
into the sleeves of dark branches....
Other poems explore themes such as being neighbours, making assumptions about people based on their wedding ceremony, selling mattresses, spirituality and consumerism. My favourite poem though is Saying Grace, which starts:
Dear dinosaurs, we thank you
We thank you for dying and
for letting your
bodies fall, for blessing our travel
by letting the earth digest you
and allowing us
to witness your canonisation,
bones into gasoline.
Despite its inaccuracy (fossil fuels aren't made of dinosaurs, but of organisms (mostly plants) that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs) this is a powerful comment on the modern day life.
This is a book full of beautifully written and thoughtful poems that you'll want to re-read as soon as you've finished them.
In the Kettle the Shriek, by Hannah Stephenson published by Gold Wake Press.