Book Review

Lift Every Voice, edited by Christine Taylor

little review of a strong anthology

This is a short, but very engaging, anthology of writing from a widely diverse range of voices.

Maybe Lift Every Voice doesn’t contain every voice that exists in the world, but I think there aren’t many worth listening to that remain absent. This anthology, edited by Christine Taylor, is an offshoot of the magazine Kissing Dynamite and offers an exciting exploration of the diversity and cacophony of great poetry currently being written around the world. Full disclosure, lol, I have a poem in it.

This is a truly exciting anthology to be a part of, because of the very genuine variety within.

There are poems in Lift Every Voice about growing up in warzones, about being presumed unable to speak a language as a second generation immigrant and then the reverse of this, of guilt at being embarrassed by an elder relative’s imperfect skills in their second language.

There’s a moving piece about that horrible gun massacre a dickhead did in a Florida gay bar a few years ago, which speaks to the culpability of societal comfort with homophobia (found in many major religious texts) leading inevitably, especially in freakishly Jesus-loving America, to acts of violence.

There are pieces, too, about being queer, neuro-atypical and lonely, there are pieces about being disconnected due to class from close relatives, about immigrant experience, about coming out in a tiny conservative village but gaining the self confidence and self knowledge to be able to do so on ones own terms.

There’s inspiring poetry here, and not in a “happy happy, yay everyone” kinda shit-inspiring-poetry kinda way, but inspiring poetry in that there is frequently pain evoked here (be it trauma, chronic illness, discrimination, grief), and it is evoked in writing which responds to that pain without minimising it.

Yes, a traditional way to deal with problems is denial, but this is poetry that loudly and proudly avoids that pitfall. The works that Christine Taylor has collated here are open and frank without being self-indulgent; they are frequently moving and often – rightfully – angry, but any confrontational moments never come across as unjustified or repressed or misguided.

Lift Every Voice reminds a reader that to exist, in this world, requires compromise, but to exist well requires self-knowledge, self-awareness and hope. It’s an impressive collection, and I’ll make an effort to read many of Kissing Dynamite’s forthcoming series of microchaps.

Great stuff, and an honour to be included with my bleak writing about diabetes, amputation and emotional repression.

BUY LIFT EVERY VOICE HERE

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