What We’ve Been Reading: March 0 Comments

What We’ve Been Reading: March

Poetry and post-apocalyptic fiction has been the name of the game at Voiceworks this month. What have you been reading?



I recently read Claire Gaskin’s Paperweight. The title of this collection of poetry is very apt as it’s a slim book of 75 pages—perfect to dip in and out of during a lunchbreak or on the tram. If you love reading contemporary poets for their fresh imagery, Gaskin won’t disappoint. In one poem, cormorants form letters in the sky, while in another the ‘thinness of the envelope’ is contrasted with ‘the thinness of skin’. Throughout the book the poet explores the relationship between the body and dreamscapes in a way that is deeply personal, like flicking through your mother’s childhood photo album.

I’m currently making my way through Maria Takolander’s latest collection of poetry The End of the World. The poems about childbirth are particularly vivid and haunting—almost gothic. In one post-birth poem, the speaker lies in the dark ‘like an amputated god, / leaking gangrene onto butcher’s sheets’. Takolander’s writing is ruthless and really jumps off the page.



This month I’ve been taking my time with Sin: Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad by you guessed who. Her poetry brings the entire world to life. Rivers spread themselves on ‘the naked shoulders of the shore’. Nights breathe hotly. The water’s heart beats. And if Farrokhzad personifies the landscape heavily, the device is never heavy-handed. Her poetry brims with a ferocity of emotion that can only be partially felt by her characters and must instead spill out into the natural world.



J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Twenty-somethings tend to treat Salinger as second-rate because they related to Holden Caulfield when they were fourteen and have since ‘grown up’, but the dude was a genius, and F&Z proves it. Written in what must be 90% dialogue, the book follows the wealthy and spiritually disaffected Glass family at a critical turning point in their lives. Very funny and sad. Recommended if you feel like reading about rich, educated white people suffering personal crises.



You know when you have a specific craving for a particular kind of book and then miraculously find it? Like when Bernard Black seeks out senior administrative nurse porn? I’ve been reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and it is exactly the compelling, poetic post-apocalyptic sci-fi I was after. Hooray!

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