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Friday, December 2, 2011

Feminist Poetry Perfect Christmas Gift for Women In Your Life

DEEPER INTO THE POND – A Celebration of Femininity
By Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Genre: Poetry (Chapbook)
There is still time to have a paperback delivered for Christmas at
Available for Kindle at for $2.99.
Chapbook cover by Jacquie Schmall

Reviewed by Jennifer Poulter

This is a rich tapestry of a celebration.

It opens with Carolyn’s verse and a ballad of marine exotica and moves to the name bearing poem “Narcissus Revisited” which mirrors the suffocation of ‘progress’ that gives  freedoms with one hand and takes with the other.  Here the deadly oil slick wall kills as readily as any of glass – progressive killing -

Those who feel 
new freedoms like I, some later-borns 
unaware that they are new, accept
the yellow-bright shimmer 
spread across the surface 
as if it were our doing 
or our due.

The next poem makes a nod to John Masefield’s “ Sea Fever” but taking it in role reversal  with ship at dock and the poet manning the great swooping cranes that  unload.

I want to go down to the sea at dawn 
with a lunch bucket and thermos, 
[and then]...  pull 
and push the big gear shifts to make a boom
tall as a building turn, swing down toward carloads 
of gravel, clamp chunks of whatever freighters 

I love the bittersweet of “Ariel” and its death-defying reach in to the unknowable.

You need 
the music to tell your story, 
to find it, to understand it
to know the truth,
to reach above the 
ocean's surface
Death is horribly present in the all too revelatory “what I once would have called a little tiff”. Those of us who have lived long enough know too well of what she speaks…

            i learned 
to call a spat a spat, 
an inheritance something
more than money,
an argument, 
a fight-to-the-death.

Magdalena’s opening poem both celebrates and denounces the hippy freedom of a generation that chose to ‘love’ but not their children well.

ecretly leaning in for more
parenting I didn’t get
punishment I 
no rod spared
no spoiling.

“Time Out” speaks of the guilt trip that is motherhood if you are, as many creatives are, a perfectionist and time your merciless master .

I shoot a response
what now?
two bullets of frustration land in 
her timeless lap
as she slips off.

Magdalena has  written a powerfully poignant tribute to all those  frightened elderly flood victims, trapped in rising waters and psychologically unable to leave their lives behind –

You pretend 
three hundred netfriends
hold your virtual hand
take you places
that don’t involve

he perpetual womb
you’ve pushed into. 

Magdalena’s  “Coming Back" ends the collection with an almost whispered reverie on love and loss in a no man’s land of guilt and recriminations –
No one dared point a finger.
We tried not to look at her but it was hard.
So we looked out of the corner of our eye when
we walked past, our heads thrown back fake
laughter all the while drawn towards the silence
of that pain the peripheral gravity that wouldn’t
let us settle into our evening of forgetting.

This collection offers the feminine take on life, love, and everything in between and does it with élan!

~Reviewer Jennifer Poulter is a member of JacketFlap , SCBWI Member, and a SCBWI representive to SWC and Stae Library of Queensland, QWC Member.

Learn more about this author of children’s literature at She blogs at and

The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. As a courtesy to the author, please tweet and retweet this post using this little green retweet widget :

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