She Who Sleeps with Bones
by Tanya Shirley
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In this insightful collection of poetry that brims with self-deprecating honesty and sexual frankness, themes of spirituality and gender relations are explored through topics such as the death of friends and relatives, the anxiety of being a foreigner in another country, the peril of unrequited love, and the premonition of tragedy. With a deft handling of syntax, these thought-provoking epiphanies on the human condition and haunted memories are full of earthy sensuality and celebratory humor that are rooted in the everyday details of living, loving, fearing, laughing, and hoping.
“The sudden shifts from the spiritual to the material or alternatively from the ordinary matters of fact to the extraordinary insights of intuition and clairvoyant vision or from the comforts of the familiar and familial silences to the upheavals of frank disclosures – all these shifts coupled with the use of the unexpected turn of phrase, the reinvigoration of the taken-for-granted and the subtle engagement of deep emotion – provide startling revelations and convey the power of Shirley’s poetry.”
Michael Bucknor, Regional Chair, Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, 2008 & 2009
“In the deftly searching poems of She Who Sleeps With Bones, Tanya Shirley considers how memory revolts from oblivion, what it can mean to be ‘haunted by the fruit’ of desire – sexual, political, the desire for an ‘uncomplicated legacy,’ for home when home exists only as a memory we cannot trust entirely, a space we fear even as we continue to go back there. These poems startle, stir, provoke equally with their intelligence and their music. A wonderful debut.”
Carl Phillips, Award Winning Poet