Book - A Little Resurrection

Today is National Poetry Day, so our resident rhyme and meter reader Tony Cross picked up A Little Resurrection by Selina Nwulu, out on 13th October from Bloomsbury Poetry ...

This is the first collection of Selina Nwulu and it is worth a read.

Some of it righteously political and some of it personal. But aren't the political and the personal just two sides of the same coin?

The issue I always have when reviewing poetry is that I haven't the academic foundation to analyse it as literature. I have my untrained mind which loves words used effectively and cleverly and I have my heart, which is moved by words and phrases. So, any analysis I have comes from that.

Selina Nwulu knows how to hit hard and she knows how to hit soft. But she knows how to hit. Quoting a single line of poetry torn from all its context is a foolish thing to do but this line - "Jimmy, finally an American, great again" - hits hard. As does "Oh! she whispered as she opened the curtains, tray in hand, to find us scattered around him, debris of a quiet bomb."

I had recently read Sonnets for Albert by Anthony Joseph and that collection would make a fine double bill with this. The themes of grief, of race and racism, of colonialism, and of family connect them. Grief runs through both books. Both are Bloomsbury publications too.

Clive James once wrote, "All I can do is turn a phrase until it catches the light." That's no bad achievement and Selina Nwulu sparkles with phrases like that. Phrases that illuminate life experiences that we’re not all going to experience – or I’m certainly not.

Some of the poems form sequences through the collection – Conversations at the Bus Stop and Repatriation. Others stand alone. Some deal with the death of her father. But sometimes she writes as if that isn’t something she wants to think about. That she wants to distract herself from those thoughts – the poem ‘Carousel’ is explicitly that. It begins: “I cannot have my father die in front of me again, will not survive living in the agony of his hospital bed.”

I will read this collection again. Probably soon. I think it will pay re-reading.

Follow Tony on Twitter @Lokster71

Image - Bloomsbury

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