Cheryl Pearson is the new Featured Writer and I am feeling very fortunate to have discovered her. Her first collection Oysterlight has been published by Pindrop Press, run by the wonderful poet and editor, Sharon Black. So I knew this collection was going to be great. Be careful when you open the Pindrop page because there’s a poem by Cheryl Pearson about Joan of Arc that will make your flesh creep!
Cheryl’s poems are always surprising and fresh. The language is vivid and bold and she uses varied forms that she seems to have invented herself. I love this poem and was going to quote from it but can’t decide what to quote so here is the whole thing….what an ending!
Once, I was golden, and lifted like a trophy.
Once, my body made men howl.
These days, I’m worse than invisible.
Just a rusting voice, a fabulous crown.
To pass the time, I talk to my statues.
Pretend them back to handsome, use
a flirty tone. Sometimes I take off all my clothes –
despite the cold – and pose,
naked, on a bent stone knee. Or fill
the chilly curl of a fist with my breast.
Once, just once, I toppled one and cracked
him open like an egg. Combed through concrete ribs
to find the rock that was his heart. And then I broke it.
See, I told him, how you like it.
A neat choice of couplets, intriguing line endings, light and effective amount of rhyming (almost cheeky), with a corker of an ending. That’s the thing about these poems – it’s difficult to pick out favourite bits because the whole of each poem has a momentum working towards its end. The books takes us on a magical journey through landscapes, travels, myths, love and nature – all seen from a kaleidoscope of perspectives and all carefully crafted. in ‘Girl as Star’ A girl is held together/ by her own gravity, In ‘Oyster Boat, New York City’ love rising like a tidemark in my body. Your body. I remember it exactly. How it felt to float. In ‘Grizzly’ salmon are ‘fat hammers’. In ‘Oyster’ she challenges you: Tell me you don’t feel anything at all as you swallow the unpearl, the quiver.
Light shines through this aptly named book. Oh, and yes, there are quite a few oysters. Of course – there would be.
Now that I have found her, I realise she keeps appearing all over the place: here are some more poems from The Compass Magazine