The Poet

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Wildly original, this all-verse rendering of an age-old story hits so many notes on so many levels that to attempt to define it would be to constrain it.

Profoundly moving, lyrical and beautiful, tragic and infuriating – a feminist tribute to every woman (literally “every” woman) who has been shamed, humiliated, overlooked, underrated, cheated or victimized by patriarchy, this book will make your heart sing, as loudly as you will hear it crack.

This is the tale of Emma Elliot, twenty-five year old poet and PHD student, (no less than an Oxford student), mentee of Professor Tom – at his core a “mediocre white man” who has been buffed and buffeted, oohed-and-awed by academic society so long that his sense of entitlement is so deeply-rooted its reach is primeval.

Emma’s voice, pure and clear and desperately searching – as she leads us through her journey, from her freshman experience through to present day – is dangerously evocative. It is so easy to get lost in her words, – the dark despair, urgency, humiliation and rage as she struggles to unleash her work, her passion, her poems, all-the-while falling under the debilitating spell of what she can only recognize as a force more powerful than she is able to resist.

“I want to smash the reflection that
I find there, the one that
Skirts around the edges of my blank pages
That mocks me, and smirks:
Useless girl”

With penetrating insights, as searing in their impact as they are impossible for Emma to act on, we too are helpless as we watch her descent, her decay, a woman decomposing as she pens her work, a self-reflective brutally raw note addressed to (but never to be seen by) her lover, an outpouring of her “burning with the scream inside” of feelings too complex to be corralled.

“I drop bits of myself
Behind me as I walk home,
Skin flakes into the cracks in the stone
And disappears.”

Emma’s journey, as it unfolds, is so stark and so beautifully rendered, that, as we witness her poetic voice – this work, ironically – if you are at all like this reader, you will cheer, internally, as powerfully as you are saddened to see it end.

A mesmerizing masterpiece, not to be missed, this is a book to read, and then, just because you can, to read again.

My stop today on the @RandomTTours #blogtour for #thePoet by @LouisaReid @DoubleDayUK

A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for a ARC of this book.


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