DARLING: NEW & SELECTED POEMS BY JACKIE KAY
BLOODAXE BOOKS (EBOOK), 2007
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Humour, gender, sexuality, sensuality, identity, racism, cultural difference: when do any of these things ever come together to equal poetry? When Jackie Kay’s part of the equation. Darling brings together into a vibrant new book many favourite poems from her four Bloodaxe collections, “The Adoption Papers”, “Other Lovers”, “Off Colour” and “Life Mask”, as well as featuring new work, some previously uncollected poems, and some lively poetry for younger readers. Kay’s poems draw on her own life and the lives of others to make a tapestry of voice and communal understanding. The title of her acclaimed short story collection, “Why Don’t You Stop Talking”, could be a comment on her own poems, their urgency of voice and their recognition of the urgency in all voice, particularly the need to be heard, to have voice. And what voice — the voices of the everyday, the voices of jazz, the voices of this many-voiced United Kingdom.
My grandmother is like a Scottish pine
Tall, straight-backed, proud and plentiful
A fine head of hair, greying now
tied up in a loose bun…
WHAT I THOUGHT
Darling: New & Selected Poems is a fantastic collection of poems. This collection gathers the best of Kay’s poetry from several collections including her amazing debut, The Adoption Papers. The poems are wide ranging and diverse. Kay offers a variety of poetry styles including the unique structure used in The Adoption Papers where different characters are given different fonts. I enjoyed the extract from The Adoption Papers the most as I recently read the full collection. There are many poems I’ve never read before and I enjoyed pretty much all of them. My favourites were the poems from her collection Other Lovers especially The Red Graveyard, Twelve Bar Bessie and The Keeper. I also really enjoyed extracts from Off Colour and the new poems included. This a thoroughly enjoyable and varied collection.