O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

Raft

Meave Haughey says Anne Gill's Raft presents a paradox of escape and survival, isolation and loneliness

by Meave Haughey, for outsideleft.com
originally published: May, 2019
Anne Gill's Raft explores the fluid nature of trauma
O U T S I D E L E F T
stay i n d e p e n d e n t
Anne Gill's Raft explores the fluid nature of trauma

Raft

Meave Haughey says Anne Gill's Raft presents a paradox of escape and survival, isolation and loneliness

by Meave Haughey, for outsideleft.com
originally published: May, 2019

Raft - by Anne Gill
Bad Betty Press

Poetry can get you by the throat. The preface to Raft by Anne Gill ambushes you. There is a confusion-- the shock of violence and dislocation so that when you turn past the preface to the title page, marked only ‘Raft’, you understand that word to encompass the paradox of escape and survival but also isolation, and loneliness.

The poems explore the fluid nature of trauma--how it floods from the past into the present--doing this through a series of narrative voices at times childlike, but most often told through the character/voice of ‘Penguin 2’. Penguin 2 links together the poems in the book, anchoring it as it strays into anxiety, trauma, recollection and the struggle to step back from the cliff edge.

What Gill’s writing does most poignantly, is to touch on the absurd and mismatched solutions which are sometimes proffered as life rafts to those in the midst of acute trauma in poems such as Green Trauma Bear and Penguin 2 is Told to Write a Gratitude Journal.

Penguin 2 Is Told to Write a Gratitude Journal is one of the few poems in the collection written in the first person and one of the most powerful in its acceleration through the narrator’s thoughts which quickly pass, with a kind of dark humour, through the jumble of the mundane

I bought a cheese sandwich with my good luck and it didn’t have
much cheese in it which is good because some people are lactose intolerant I got a plain very dry 
sandwich with my good luck and it meant I drank water and I should drink more water I am grateful for water

until they lay bare with horrific clarity the, until now, unspoken:

I am grateful that I can’t stop remembering the rape at the time
of the rape I was wearing old clothes I am grateful I was probably
going to throw them out anyway I am grateful that I shower more
and I am grateful for cleanliness and I am grateful he didn’t
kill me and I am grateful it only happened once and I am
grateful that it didn’t happen to my son I am grateful that it didn’t
happen to my son I am so grateful that it didn’t happen to my son

A skillful and moving first collection which will provoke you with the starkness of its vulnerability.

cover for raft by Anne GIll


Essential Info
Website for Bad Betty Press

see more stories from outsideleft's Fiction & Poetry archive »»

Meave Haughey

Meave Haughey is a writer and artist and can mostly be found living out an elaborate alternative life while doing the laundry. Oh and pubishing episodics at her blog Worth the Coming Home.

Outsideleft Night In
OL's Daily Playlist to Stay In For
tueday.2.june, This is Black Out Tuesday
The show must be paused »» [ MORE INFO / NIGHT IN PAGE »» ]

MORE STORIES TO READ...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

Grand Duchy: I Got You, Babe
Black Francis is still the cool cat when making the scene with his wife and partner Violet Clark in their joint project Grand Duchy
Celebrating Brion Gysin and William Burroughs
Destroy All Rational Thought is a documentary film based around the Here To Go Show that took place in Ireland in the early 1990s. We talk to one of its co-creators about the newly remastered DVD
Dazed and Confused
Holy Bones of Saints! Shane has shattered his ankle, in passing, oh and other things are on his mind too
Yo Saturnalia and Happy ''Christmas'' from The Singing Saws
Nothing can cut through your holiday blues quicker than a singing saw.
Laura Cantrell, Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop
American Dream
LCD's American Dream is one of the best of 2017
Some of our favorite things...