Shedding the Niceties | Ellen Phethean
Ellen Phethean has produced many poetry collections, Young Adult novels, plays, poem films and radio poems in her creative life. She encourages others to write through teaching and running workshops. She can’t imagine ever stopping as writing gets her out of bed and keeps her connected to life.
This collection travels back to the past and looks to possible futures, considering what it means to be growing older. These poems explore a life that has been shaped by the politics and culture of the decades 1950s to 2020s, experienced as a girl, woman and mother. There is anger, stoicism and humour, and finally, a letting go.
‘These are rambunctious poems that insist on finding their own way home in the dark, telling yarns spun from the bright stuff of memory and a voracious appetite for life. Shedding the Niceties might purport to be “a History of Invisible Women” but this woman demands to be heard: Phethean’s voice is “warm-blooded”, full of mischief and irrepressible curiosity, puzzling out the past and peering into a still-to-be-conjured future—“the sharp cold river / that will slap her / into consciousness / like a midwife.”’
‘Here is a rich, wise, earthy meditation on a fully-lived and creative life. Open-hearted, drawing deeply from reserves of imagination and memory, these poems glint like amulets held in the hand against grief and loss, yet offer a profoundly affecting, even joyful way in to deeply felt questions of love and mortality. Suffused with a strong political conciousness, this collection celebrates the sheer exuberance of transformation: a free-spirited poet growing older and coming into the prime of her powers.’
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