Katy Wareham Morris has written an astonishing debut. It is unashamedly feminist and confronting, asking questions about male power, sexual desire, motherhood and the poems consider how a woman is defined and how they occupy their place in an often hostile society.
Sometimes I get sick of poetry that doesn’t address political things, rather it skirts around issues. I’m not saying I am any better at this, because I saturate my poems in symbolism, metaphor and ambiguity so that my discussion of certain issues are buried under layers of voices and imagery. It satisfies my poetry to create in this way, however, I admire the unapologetic lens and fire of poets like Antony Owen, writing about conflict in The Nagasaki Elder, or Wareham Morris writing about gender politics and identity.
This collection looks straight at some uncomfortable realities about being a woman in society and examines them with innovative use of form and tender, lyrical lines that made me re-read each poem after I had finished it.
Cutting the Green Ribbon is immediately intriguing from the cover design, where there is a refusal to conform to expected realities. There is no green ribbon but a blue feather, rendered against a stark, white cover.
The poems are rich with inventive, clear imagery and there is a strong sense of playful musicality. I particularly love Karaoke Sing Song and the sequence of ‘From’ poems. There is a beat poetry connection threading through the poems, and Diane Di Prima has a dedication. Wareham Morris connects to the Beats with her bared truth and expression, her willingness to step over the conventional moral boundaries and write poetry about the lines drawn between lust, desire and female pleasure vs exploitation and abuse. Wareham Morris asks the reader to consider womanhood with varying perspectives and assumed voices; she uses some complex longer forms that are successful in their attempt to echo the use of breath and sense of performance, but despite this experimental craft, what rises most clearly from this collection is a direct, unapologetic female voice.
Published by Hesterglock Press, £8.
There is a really interesting review of CTGR here, that is a poem in itself.
Read this poetry collection if you want a feminist voice and visceral, burning imagery.