This eagerly awaited second collection of poems from Kim Moore is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.
The book opens with a rally-cry that is also a warning, the first line: ‘We are coming under cover of darkness,’ and continues with the description of ‘We’ as being woman, both witch-like (feared) and oppressed, with ‘hobbled’ childhoods and spaces that were ‘given’.
The book moves in a roughly chronological way from here, with early poems about the innocent friendships of childhood that have a dreamy, anticipatory quality. They foreshadow a later eroticism, but also hint at fear, with the awkward boy with ‘unwashed clothes’: ‘We hated the way you followed us around…’. Then come the terrifying episodes of violence or near violence – incidents in which our narrator barely escapes rape at a party, or where the narrator’s friend suffers the consequences of defending herself from unwanted attention in a nightclub, ‘that being in public is a dangerous thing’.
There are also amusing anecdotes as in 12: After the reading… which reports a confrontation with a male in the audience who accuses her of objectifying of the male gender. The author observes a naïve younger self just coming to terms with sexuality and speaks of desire, touching upon its inherent power, its temptations and deceptions. There are a number of poems that re-enact the ‘easy misogyny’ of everyday life and observe it from an appalled distance. An episode with a taxi driver where casual banter becomes increasingly threatening rings only too true.
All The Men I Never Married is a powerful collection of deeply thoughtful and deeply felt poetry.
Kim was the first poet we ever booked for Verve Festival way back in 2016! If she hadn’t said yes, it is likely that none of this would have happened. She was also a huge source of advice and guidance at the time having recently set up Kendal Poetry Festival in Cumbria, which continues to go from strength to strength!
Date: 4th Oct 2021
Extent: 72 pp