Our contributor, Matt Macdonald described Anamnesis as a collection which “dissects memory, remembrance and the minutiae of life in ways that are equally eviscerating and elegant; calling it, “a stunning debut and clear evidence that the next collection will be something to await eagerly”.
If that whets your appetite (and it should), you can read Matt’s full review here – while today, we are also pleased to publish Iona’s own selection of three poems from her book.
This is where they send sad kids to try and talk them out of it. Today I feel happy. Today I feel sad. This is the vocabulary. You curate plastic dinosaurs and Playmobil men into the shape of your family your friends. Today I feel happy. Today I feel sad. This stegosaurus is my dad. You write a letter to yourself and never send it. You are instructed to draw your feelings as a tree. You spend a lifetime contemplating deciduous or evergreen.
You dazzle cabinets of dark and sparkling curiosity. Arranged in your careful nonchalance. Longing to be unreliable in an array of vintage negligees. Playing it cool. A pair of black cherry lungs pendant in each pretty chest. Thumbing well-loved lighters with the best of them, and relishing the burn. Oh, how I do not envy you. Those days, they were heady with drama. On reflection – it was hell. Falling from one dream into another. That first proper taste of heartache. The cold, hard shoulder of the kitchen floor. But everyday was another costume party. Dancing down the great banquet table, gesturing wildly with a leg of lamb. Putting your foot in it. Life has made you sad and filthy with strange power – as brand new and ancient as spring.
We dwell not on earth but in language – Greg Garrard
The dreaming city is blinking its evening rooms – a punctured silhouette of jack o’ lantern teeth. And deep beneath the skin of sleep the flat is damp and beating. We are wee beasties in the fat pulp of a flower’s pointed heart. Colour of the golden hour through an eyelid: egg yolk. The night cracks open, honeycombs, makes constellations from each lambent household. Our souls hung up like ghosts to dry in arabesques. Sudden cobwebs. We are so many distant orbs. But somewhere, down a dream-lit corridor, I lift the veil, like a bead curtain, and whisper your names.
All poems taken from Anamnesis, published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Ltd (2023), with kind permission of the author.
About the author
Iona Lee has been a prominent member of Scotland’s live poetry scene for almost ten years, appearing on radio and television, and reading her work in venues and on festival stages across the UK and Europe, including Glastonbury, the Albert Hall and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Iona has been published extensively, in newspapers, anthologies and journals. Her pamphlet (Polygon, 2018) was shortlisted for a Saltire Award and in her upcoming debut collection was shortlisted for an Edwin Morgan Poetry Award in 2022.