Poetry - Minor Things

Minor Things

Susan Omand gets a bit nostalgic as she reads Minor Things, a poetry collection from Kate Garrett...

“This is a mix tape not a misery memoir”

The first line of the dedication sets the tone for the rest of the poetry in this lovely little book from Kate Garrett. With only ten poems in it couldn’t be called big by any means but Kate, as with all her poetry collections manages to connect with a teenage me that I thought had gone forever, particularly with Sleepover. The thoughts of buying Just Seventeen when I was eleven and getting cheap and garish makeup and nail polish from an auntie (or in my case my granny) brought back so many happy memories. Even the reference to mix tapes brought back memories of recording the top 40 off the radio to play again through the week.

Poetry is meant to provoke a reaction and this book definitely does. The description is rich and the characters are engaging and highly relatable. The poems in this collection cover a girl’s life from early teens to early motherhood in a way that only one who has experienced it can.  However all is not rosy in this poetry collection, indeed there are many dark moments either implied or stated and that is the beauty of Kate’s poetry, her ability to infer a deeper story to what is, on the surface a simple read. Take Diversions for example, a poem ostensibly about a girl getting into her stepfather’s car. The signs are there from the start that there are issues, but you just assume them to be the usual “father/teenage daughter” angst as he tries to get her to talk, breaking the silence with inane chatter about music and bands and offers to teach her the guitar to try and connect in some way. By the bottom of the first page though you get that discomforting feeling that there is more than a familial bond on his mind and, just as you let the horror of that thought sink in, the last line hits you and you are dumbstruck.

So no, as a collection it’s not big but it is very, very clever. Minor Things is by no means minor, it’s a mix tape.

Image - Lulu