Wednesday 28 August 2013

In the Kettle, the Shriek by Hannah Stephenson

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:

Voila! Spontaneous
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

and ends:

We thank you for dying and 
for letting your 
bodies fall, for blessing our travel
and machinery
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.


Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Congratulations for winning the book sounds great and always lovely to have poems that you want to read again and again.

Enjoy the rest of the week

Kat Mortensen said...

I like what I've read so far. Very thought-provoking, and it's always nice to see where inspiration comes from in others.

Congratulations on your win too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I certainly love the taste you have given us here Juliet.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Thanks so much, Juliet! I'm glad you enjoyed these poems :).

Little Miss Titch said...

intriging book!xx

eileeninmd said...

Congrats on winning! The book sounds wonderful and one you will really enjoy! Have a great day!

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Congratulations on your win. Looks like a wonderful book.

RG said...

That was a dandy photo .. I am always impressed at what creative people can do with a few words ... About the best I ever did was make my English teacher wring her hands ...