Book - No Love Lost

No Love Lost

The anti-romantic Susan Omand reviews No Love Lost from Pankhearst...

Anti-romance. It’s a coined phrase that can mean many different things to many different people and this Slim Volume called No Love Lost from Pankhearst and edited by Kate Garrett encompasses a lot of those differences.

This is a collection of poetry and flash fiction from over fifty different authors and is a wonderful antidote to all the bleeding hearts and perfumed flowers of conventional love stories and poetry. That’s not to say it’s anti love, although some authors have interpreted it that way, it’s just that the subject is approached in a much more realistic, sometimes cynical way that is right up my street.

There are poems about war and stories about love at different times of life, from school age to old age. There are single, descriptively evocative statement pieces, like A Slacker’s Kiss and Streaming and humorous work like Do I Miss Thee. There are technically clever poems like Misdirection where it leads you in to a tryst and then reverse you out using the same words – difficult to explain but very impressively done. I must admit that my favourite set of poems in the book is Seasonal Beasts by Robert de Born. I love the use of dates to ground the work and the almost supernatural sense of these four pieces being of the same couple back and forth through time and incarnations. It also has a wonderful sense of the infinite. You get the feeling that they will always be together, as some sort of soul mates, no matter what the universe presents them with.

The book doesn’t shy away from the more shocking either with poems dealing at domestic violence, stalkers and alcohol abuse. What unites them all though is the gritty reality with no cliché or wishful thinking. As Kate Garrett says in her introduction, “...nary a Manic Pixie Dream Girl or floppy-haired English gent in sight.” She must also be highly commended for her curation of the compilation as the diversity of styles and switches between poetry and flash fiction flows very easily and it is a lovely book to read cover-to cover as well as dipping in and out of.

And any anti-romance collection whose introduction starts with a quote from Dostoyevsky must be worth a read.

Image - Pankhearst.