So, for Day 1 (technically yesterday but I worked late!) I’m going to talk about the book that started it all.
Well, it didn’t start anything as revitalise and streamline things for me poetry-wise. In 2008 I read Atwood’s Power Politics for the first time. Until this book, I’d enjoyed poetry, fancied myself a writer, etc.
Power Politics changed not only how I viewed poetry but how I viewed the woman’s experience. It seemed to me like the first time a poem was calling out the flaws of relationships, the failings. And Atwood’s voice, which I’d loved in the Handmaid’s Tale, was even stronger here.
This collection is where her famous poem “you fit into me” can be found. I remember turning to that page for the first time and feeling like I’d taken a shot to the face. The starkness took me aback and the cleverness of the lines had me thinking about it days later.
(This is all very stream of consciousness, as I’m typing on my phone during my break)
I’ll share one of my favourites from Power Politics:
What is it, it does not
move like love, it does
not want to know, it
does not want to stroke, unfold
it does not even want to
touch, it is more like
an animal (not
thing trapped, you move
wounded, you are hurt, you hurt,
you want to get out, you want
to tear yourself out, I am
the outside, I am snow and
space, pathways, you gather
yourself, your muscles
clutch, you move
into me as though I
your way through, this is
urgent, it is your
last chance for freedom.
I’ve gone on to read as much of Atwood’s poetry as possible, but nothing affects me quite like that first book.