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These poems introduce voices that clamour to be heard. The language is vibrantly now, the context the everyday but at times things are a little skewed, as if something slightly odd has been glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. The poet inhabits a world where angels comment on tea towels in a gift shop, Medusa travels on the train, Emily Dickinson waits for a phone call, a woman has dinner with Goya’s polished skull. However reality is brought sharply into focus by the trafficked east European girl, the Zimbabwean immigrant woman, the carer, the sex chat line worker, the people in the all night petrol station.
Every emotion that make us fully human, including humour, weave through this collection. The poems mirror life and show us who we are, who we could have been and who we might become. In the final section we are drawn into the world of personal trauma and loss. This is the mirror we would rather walk away from and yet the scalpel-like precision of each word, the light touch of the language beckons us in as if we already know that the ‘you’ watched in this sequence could easily be us, if we happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This book has a compulsive and vital authenticity, after reading it you feel that you have been on a journey with the poet through a strange yet also oddly familiar landscape and have arrived somewhere well worth visiting.
‘Like her Shaman, Porter draws survivors and ghosts about her, and with a hawk's eye for happenstance of living language, she rewrites myth, catching the white of Shiva's eye, acknowledging both chaos and random kindness, harm and hilarity. She heeds the overlooked – the child contaminated by radiation, the immigrant coaching herself in her new life's story, the girl who gives sales advice on vibrators, the women who sells phone sex, night porters, long distance drivers. For Porter, there is no taboo and this is her poetry's most generous gift. “Life is in the detail. Death is in the detail.”’ —Jen Hadfield
‘The fascinating cut glass surfaces of her work, always tug against an undercurrent of darkness and violence.’ —Jo Shapcott