London Undercurrents by @joolzess & @Xilaire

Poetry. Women’s Studies. LONDON UNDERCURRENTS is a collaboration by two London-based female poets Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire. This poetry cycle gives a voice to women who often go unheard, or are self-sacrificing in order not to upset the apple cart. There are thousands of women, extraordinary, ordinary, famous or forgotten who have plenty to say and deserve to be heard. The authors want to share the hidden histories of London’s unsung heroines that they have uncovered in their neighbourhoods north and south of the river.

LONDON UNDERCURRENTS shows that the personal is also universal and casts women as the central characters of their own story. The poems form a rich tapestry full of local colour throughout the ages viewed from both sides of the Thames. Some of the poems are free verse, others have a rhyme scheme or a playful layout to emphasize a point and both poets have written contributions to each of the twelve sections of the book. LONDON UNDERCURRENTS is one of a kind, fascinating and well researched. It really captures the spirit, image and diversity of London.

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[We did not say a word / that bitter February morning FIRST CROP]

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(Holland Park Press, 28 March 2019, 154 pages, ebook, copy from @HollandParkPres and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’d never heard of the poets before I decided to read this collection. The premise intrigued me. I’m so glad I took a chance. London Undercurrents is one of the most unique concepts for a poetry collection that I’ve ever come across. It’s sort of historical fiction in the form of poetry which I haven’t come across before. I loved how original this was. I loved the fact each poem is different and the poets use different formats and styles throughout so no two poems can be considered the same. Each poem is a simple pleasure to read. This is an impressive collection.

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