I have written a few poetry reviews by now and I think I’ve managed to grasp it quite well. However, I was most nervous when I had to review Shifting Bone. I read it once and then again. I breathed in the words the first time and indulged my soul in the second. I felt every emotion possible; love, humility, fear, self-love, sadness, contentment and empowerment. But still, when I sat down to write about it; I felt nervous. I felt fear.
The reason being is – I just didn’t know how to confabulate in words the extent to which this book has touched me. But I’m going to give it the best go that I can because the world needs to appreciate the talent that flows in every page of this book.
I have to confess. Every poetry book/ chapbook that I have read has enlivened me in one way or another, but Shifting Bone managed to revive the girl hidden within me. Shifting Bone energised my heart and soul. Shifting Bone made me feel understood and accepted in ways no other book has been able to. This book, everyone, has settled on a throne in the centre of my mind and there it will rightfully remain.
The tact and prowess of Alison Malee’s writing has always left me dumbfounded. I can’t express how much I look up to her as a writer, as a woman and as an artist with such graceful writing that her words become her weapons – encompassing the ability to change a reader completely.
The elegance of her written prose and the way every piece spells out a new revelation and gives inspiration is a special talent and not everyone possesses it, but Alison transcends in this completely.
Shifting Bone is not just for women. It is for every single person that wants to feel invigorated. Understood. For every single person that wants to immerse into what it truly means to appreciate oneself. To accept oneself. The trials and tribulations of life are one that we all undergo but Alison teaches us what it really means to experience and surpass these quandaries and understand ones self-worth.
No one is perfect and this book isn’t about learning to become perfect. It’s about realising the imperfections of life against the fibre and being of us as persons with value; as persons with different temperaments, all breathing, changing and shifting alongside the fluctuating patterns of life.
Alison pours her heart out in this book in a way the reader can appreciate, in a way that allows the reader to understand their own predicaments in a better manner. Her flare for scripting beautiful poems that carve themselves into the mind of the reader is what makes her different to any other writer whose book I have read. This book is not just words etched on paper, it’s much more than that. This book understands. It accepts the glorious tragedies of love. It appreciates ones imperfection. It is a heart. A soul. A spirit. The kind of spirit that the reader can feel looming inside them as they read it, waiting to erupt.
This book is you. It is me. It is Shifting Bone.
There are so many other things that I can say about this book but I don’t think any more words can do justice to how I felt when I read it. All I can say is Shifting Bone has reached the highest point for me and every poetry book that I read from now on will be measured against it. It has become my favourite poetry book and will remain to do so until something else comes along and manages to shift it from its pedestal.
So the time comes to pick one poem that I felt most touched by. There were many, so many and picking one was the toughest decision that I had to make. But here it is, one of many favourites from Shifting Bone;
Be kind to your body.
You are learning
what it means
to become more than
You are becoming
a woven tapestry
It takes time.
I cannot begin to explain the level of talent that spills from every line in this piece. Alison is phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.
All I know is that this poetry book is one every single person needs to read at least once. It will change your emotions, your mind and your thoughts in ways you never thought feasible. I highly recommend it and know that you all will cherish this one.