Having been bored to tears with poetry during my school years, I’ve spent many years protesting that I don’t like it. Even studying for a degree in English Literature did very little to dissuade me from that stance. Technically, I got it. But, emotionally I’d never really connected with anything, at least not enough to actually read it for pleasure. Everything I was reading was centuries old, written in a world very different from the one we now live in.
It wasn’t until I started my MA and I was forced to write poetry, that I began to read it (very begrudgingly at first) by contemporary poets who had something to say about our world. And it was as if the sun had risen, and I suddenly had a whole world that I could see in an entirely new light, from different perspectives. Ever since then I constantly carry a book of poetry around with me.
I don’t read poetry very fast. This anthology, Persona Non Grata, I’ve been carrying around for a couple of months. But I love to read a poem, once, and then again. Think, digest, consider and then read again. It’s a slow process, but it’s also immensely satisfying, and I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed Persona Non Grata.
It is pooled together with the theme of displacement and otherness, the idea of being an ‘outsider’. Poems are arranged into chapters within this theme covering topics such as; homelessness, war, asylum seekers, grief etc.
Of course there are some poems I’ve enjoyed more than others, but I can quite honestly say that there isn’t a single poem in this collection that I haven’t taken something from. This is the type of poetry I enjoy. It has something to say. A story to tell. It’s bold and it’s relevant. The whole collection is so incredibly evocative, I’ve been made to feel so deeply. I’ve been brought to tears in the imagining of the pain and the suffering. I’ve felt sheer anger and frustration at the level of ignorance, the lack of understanding and empathy that exists in society. It is just a wonderful collection, filled with accessible, relatable poetry.
I don’t profess to be an expert in poetry, however, I am an expert in what I enjoy – and I really enjoyed this collection. I also love that Fly on the Wall Poetry Press, the publishers of this collection release charitable anthologies in support of a charity relevant to the theme. Persona Non Grata, for example raises funds for two charities, Shelter and Crisis Aid UK.
I know, without doubt, that I will return to Fly on the Wall Poetry Press for future collections, and I very highly recommend Persona Non Grata.
Purchase Link: https://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk/persona-non-grata
About the Collection
Persona Non Grata is packed with exceptional poets writing on the theme of society’s ‘Outsiders’.
With interpretations exploring our refugee crises globally, physical and mental illness, homelessness, addiction and family estrangement, the anthology will be fundraising for two important and vital charities: ‘Shelter’ and ‘Crisis Aid UK‘.
3 thoughts on “Persona Non Grata (ed. Isabelle Kenyon)”
Fab review! I have definitely learned as I get older to read what I enjoy. I still struggle with poetry and didn’t enjoy studying it in university, so I stayed away from it until recently. I’ve just started reading Because A Woman’s Heart is Like A Needle at the Bottom of the Ocean, which I highly recommend.
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Thanks! Poetry is definitely something I’m getting more and more into. It’s such a skill to craft something that can mean so much in so few words.
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