By Lucy Harvest Clarke
Publisher: If p then q
Lucy Harvest Clarke knows how to use words. She can evoke huge emotions and issues with a verse only a few words long. Her writing is like a hospital IV: slowly dripping emotive twists and turns into your brain.
The structure of her poetry is unusual. She uses several different forms of verse, which all look very different from a traditional poem’s structure. This allows her to bring the reader’s focus onto the words themselves. She also uses the odd structure of her poems to express a variety of voices.
In some places the structure is so sparse and spaced out that it is difficult to read. This technique reflects what she is describing: life is rarely clarified and clear. She records human speech, allowing its repetitions, gaps and lack of sense to show through.
Harvest Clarke uses her fragmented memories from childhood and anger, to craft the shape of a variety of themes. Love, rape, sexism, identity issues, loneliness and suicide are all discussed within her poetry.
The use of these techniques and themes, build up to make Harvest Clarke sound a little like a feminist Allen Ginsberg. In places she uses run on lines, swearing and frequent drug references to make her point. However she does this skilfully, so that none of it seems out of place.
My favourite verse from the collection has to be: “to be fully equipped to be broken by a lover is a breathing/likeable death that will have friendship cut you lengthways/and rest its salty head on the broke legs”.