“Kissing Angles” by Sarah Fletcher
Dead Ink Press, USA, 2015
Poetry Review by Jack Little
Published in the Ofi Press issue 42
British based American poet Sarah Fletcher has won the Christopher Tower Poetry Prize and in 2012, she was a Foyle young poet. ‘Kissing Angles’ is her first poetry pamphlet.
The book is elegant in its production. The first poem introduces the reader to the first playful portrait of a man: “You are/all slink, all water-hips,/ a screech of smoke escaping/ from your lips…” (Vision of My Lover Dressed in Drag).
We meet other men of different ilks; in The Boxer we meet: “the only man…to look/ at Hull at call it Babylon”. Fletcher’s Angels are often humourous figures but we find sadness in their love and lust too. The Matador is one of these, the macho: “He can’t stop touching me/ and I realise that I am part of this act:/ the torero’s muleta, his red slip./ He kisses me. His tongues feels like a whip.” Passion runs throughout the collection with other startling images: “She loves to lick/ his Atlantic blue thick bruise/ from chest to neck…” (The Wrestler and the Sailor’s Daughter).
The collection asks difficult questions that take a satisfying bite out of the crunchy apple of the theme of love: “I wonder if we’d get along/ in situations of forced friendship/ or necessity…” The simple yet striking line “each pain is unique” pricks at every painful memory we have each felt as readers, and lovers of all backgrounds (This Is a Confessional Poem).
My favourite poem in the collection is Lads: “with them, sex feels like miming drowning;/ with gapped mouth gasping, their rower’s arms/ too heavy from the drink to pull them back/ to shore”. The poem gets better with each read.
Kissing Angles is a bold first pamphlet from a talented and exciting young poet whom, I’m sure, we will be seeing a lot more of in the coming years.
You can read more of Sarah’s work in The Ofi Press at: http://www.ofipress.com/fletchersarah.htm