Tara Anegada and Sophie Curtis, two third year students at the University of Nottingham have self-published a poetry collection titled ‘Social Distancing’. The collection explores the effects of the last few weeks as society progressively goes into lockdown. For 99p on Amazon, with all proceeds going to UNICEF, this is a very worthwhile read.
The collection has a lovely balance of dark humour that led me to find myself chuckling more than once
Working in a chronological, day-by-day structure, the collection really highlights the how quickly things started to collapse and the emotional and psychological impact that has had on us all. While it is existential at points, the collection has a lovely balance of dark humour that led me to find myself chuckling more than once. It encapsulates the general feeling of uncertainty and collapse in a very raw and compelling way that makes the collection very close to home.
The unconventional layouts were used tastefully, and almost always added to the overall impact of the poem
An issue I sometimes encounter with slightly ‘edgier’ poetry is the use of unusual formatting just for aesthetic, when in fact the overall effect seems arbitrary. However, I did not feel that this applied in Anegada and Curtis’ collection. The unconventional layouts were used tastefully, and almost always added to the overall impact of the poem. I particularly liked the use of font size in poem 9.v (which was, perhaps, my favourite in the whole collection and definitely one that made me laugh out loud). The layout of the conversation poems was also very effective.
The entire collection is very raw and honest. It is a harrowing, yet very clever, choice to open each section with news excerpt from that given day. It highlights the hard hitting fact that the world truly fell apart in nine short days. I almost feel like the labelling of this piece as a ‘collection’ seems inappropriate, as each individual poem holds its impact in its place among the rest. While some of the poems could work in isolation, such as 1.ii and 6.ii, this is a piece that should be read cover to cover in order to fully appreciate the political impact of the entries when they are read together.
The entire collection is very raw and honest
In this sense, I think it is more of a series that should be enjoyed as a whole, in order. I thought the mixture of different styles of poem (we have list poems, narrative poems, and ones much closer to traditional verse) and the different tones were well balanced and captured the roller coaster that the world has been on very successfully.
It’s an energetic piece of writing that will be fascinating to look back on in years to come
As someone who generally doesn’t love poetry, I can genuinely say that I found this collection very poignant. The strong sense of character that came through from each of the writers made it very accessible and engaging, as well as, of course, being undeniably relevant to our current climate. It’s an energetic piece of writing that will be fascinating to look back on in years to come to remember what life was really like in a pandemic.
Featured Image courtesy of Tara Anegada.
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