Lioness / Chérie Taylor Battiste
Scarborough : Valley Press, 2019
What has been added to our collection this month? Here are a few highlights:
In a culture which can seem like it’s brimming over with stories of sorrow and pain and downright damage, Chérie Taylor Battiste’s poetry beats new pathways through the bleakness of personal loss in a racist world. Our favourite poem ‘Maypole’, a tale of resistance and triumph in the face of a racist educational system, ends with ‘I did my homework/on how my soul worked [...] and honoured my mission/of a pledge to revision/my Black girl in/White world circumstance.’ Taylor Battiste has honoured her mission throughout these poems. An exciting, moving, musical first collection.
Few books resist and cry out as you open them, but this handmade accordion of heavily-glued, pulped paper definitely appears more animal than mineral. One of five handmade copies of a special edition of this ‘greedy’ poem, typewritten and bound in red, it came wrapped like fruit, about to break free from a tangerine-coloured net. Artist-poet Jennie Cole uses Barthes’ Mythologies and Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking to fire debate about the ‘strange relationship between the consumption of meat and the capacity for abstract thought’ and to develop a ‘mythology of the sanguine’.
we sprout on stems of people,
bloom only in rain"
Laura Purdie Salas has invented something called the riddle-ku, a combination of riddles, haiku and mask poems. You have to guess what non-human is speaking the poem. Aimed at ages 5-9 these haiku are very descriptive and a lot of fun, offering some unexpected aspects of the seasons. Accompanied by Mercè López’s Japanese inspired illustrations which colourfully hint at the answers, this is a beautiful and thoughtful book. Salas also gives tips on how to create your own riddle-ku. We think it could become addictive...