Ella Frears’s debut is a collection of wry, vivid poems whose power lies in their intimacy. They are as insistent as they are circumspect, drawing close to the readers ear and bringing them into confidence. The engine of Shine, Darling is one of strength, of fortitude in confronting and surviving the world, of a lifted-chin audacity There was pain, the speaker allows, but it was not new pain. Frearss work is world-weathered rather than world-weary, delighted by service stations, f**king on bins in Cornwall, in constant communion with the moon. It lives for the power-play of people, of the pull of the sea, the smoky air Stormy, sticky with flies and tangled underbrush where the land ends. Her characters test each other, experimenting with the boundaries of physical violence, of punishment, of traps, all the while drawing the reader into a complicity that gives these poems all their daring, electrifying muscularity. In Shine, Darling, the desire to expose and disclose wrestles with defence and defiance. The result is exhilarating, a glorious full-bodied debut collection with the draw of an adamant tide.
Date: 16th April 2020
Extent: 48 pp