adversaries /comrades (Poetry) by Gail Aldwin

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Cover of Poetry Pamphlet by Gail Aldwin
Photo of Writer and Poet Gail Aldwin
IMG_8928.jpg
Cover of Poetry Pamphlet by Gail Aldwin
Photo of Writer and Poet Gail Aldwin

adversaries /comrades (Poetry) by Gail Aldwin

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sibling (noun)

‘Each of two or more children or offspring having one or both parents in common; a brother or sister.’

The relationship between siblings is explored in adversaries/comrades. From the games, jokes and confusions of childhood, to the rivalries and tensions of growing up and the secrets and confidences shared between adults. Siblings often enjoy longstanding relationships that are frequently enduring. This pamphlet celebrates the tenacity of siblings.

Reviews for adversaries/comrades:

“Gail’s poetry is sharp, astute, playful, wry, yet never sentimental. Every word has earned its place, and the imagery is as clear as a bell. This is a poet who takes her craft seriously, yet isn’t afraid to play with words as well as work with them. An accomplished debut pamphlet.”

- Amanda Huggins, Author of Separated From the Sea 

“This engaging collection of poems draws the reader into moments many of us recognise from family life. They reveal a clarity of vision and memory when put under the poet’s microscope. We are right there with the child making a paper boat for her younger brother; we are knocking on a door and running away. Sibling rivalry and loyalty are always closely entwined. Aldwin draws on the familiar idioms of childhood, but she makes each word and every phrase work for its space in her poems. Her observations are at times humorous - ‘the face of a pooch’ appearing in the poem ‘Babies’ – but there is also an underlying sense of sadness. ‘Twin Flight’ is a pivotal poem in meaning and form; here, a reverse poem is used to explore loss. There is a sense of delight in the choosing of each word of this assured collection.”

- Alison Lock, poet, A Witness of Waxwings and Revealing the Odour of Earth.

“This pamphlet of work showcases a poet who demonstrates an excellent mastery of language and analogy. It is polished and surprising, exploring the tenderness of complex family relationships but with a narrative voice that is not afraid to touch upon a sub-text of bruises, scars and painful childhood moments. The tenderness of the writing is showcased in the opening poem, ‘Birthday’. I really enjoyed the variety of technique in this collection, as it moves from prose poems to shorter lyric pieces and concrete poetry. The prose poem ‘Ginger Ginger’ is full of sound and movement, with expert use of colloquial phrasing: ‘We think she’s god a gun or an axe and she’s vanished up her baggy knickers.’ Gail Aldwin also demonstrates her playfulness and willingness to experiment with form in this collection, such as the concrete poem, ‘Girls Brigade’. She picks the right receptacle carefully for each subject as the collection expands. I liked the precision in her use of surprising metaphors, such as this arresting image in ‘Gagging Order’: ‘My tongue is a slug that fills/the hollow of my mouth’. The prose poem ‘Finishing’ is full of energy and further moments of tenderness: ‘the handlebar with daisy stickers belongs to her’. Perhaps there is an over-reliance on narrative in the prose poem, ‘Babies’, but the final image of pooches poking out from bags brought a lovely moment humour to the work. Overall, this pamphlet shows a poet with a delicacy of touch, and a mastery of form and content. It was a pleasure to read.”

- Anne Caldwell, Freelance Writer & Poet, and Associate Lecturer at Open University 

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