Gritty and darkly humorous, Pearsons verses address modern myths head-on in a world where love watches itself critically and consciously. Everything is unravelled in poems that disentangle pregnancy from motherhood, custody from caregiving, marriage from love, sex from gender, only to weave these concepts back together in startling new patterns. Pearson deliberately trips over the picket fences of proprieties and sensitivities that surround the New Age marriage. The sacred and profane are crossed daily with frankness, toughness, and warmth. In Prime, British humour and psychoanalytic and feminist theory meet under the poets steady gaze.
In Prime, Miranda Pearson's first collection of poetry, the narratives of female identity, the white wedding, and the enshrined position of the mother are interrogated, using the lyric as a form of cultural critique in an examination and mockery of romantic love and heterosexual relationships. At the same time, the poems constitute an irreverent, lush romp, a celebration of friendship and absurdity.
Cover painting by Angela Grossman www.angelagrossmann.com
Nadine Shelley, The Gig
Miranda Pearson’s collection of poetry, entitled simply Prime, is immediately and irrestibly engaging. The book begins with poems about pregnancy; taut and breathy pieces that seethe with sensual details. In the first poem, “Falling in Love with Myself” Pearson describes her metamorphosed body, “hilly as Henry Moore”, with unaffected affection. She concludes that: “I have always suspected/this was my true self/emerging from hesitant bones/Queen-sized/undisguised/by vanity.”
Perhaps I would not love these poems so much if I were not a mother myself. But I like to think that I would, because the poems are so rich and delicate and full of incandescent moments that they welcome anyone who is open to reading intimate descriptions of what it is like to be in a woman’s body. Pearson’s exquisite examination of her experience of pregnancy, birth and nurturing in these poems are especially satisfying to me because I can relate so well to them. Lying in bed with my own nursing babe, reading “her breast like starts/like birds/ that have found their home” (“3.00 a.m.” was both personally validating and aesthetically delightful.
Pearson’s images vibrate with authenticity and originality, and her language manages to be simple and direct yet sophisticated in its usage. It is hard to believe that this is Person’s first book, so confidently and carefully constructed is the writing. I particularly enjoyed the physicality of the work, the attention to sensual experience which grounds Pearson’s observations throughout the book, and the atmospheric charge that many of the pieces convey.
Often autobiographical in tone, Prime manages to weave intensely personal observations into timeless, accessible themes. Prime is not just a collection of poems about mothering, but also about friendship and love. Disappointment and “grief’s long gestation”. Pearson’s ability to conjure deep feeling without falling into sentiment or self-indulgence is evidence of her abundant talent.
Pearson demonstrates a remarkable range of tone in these poems; from humorous and celebratory to dark and dreamy to earthy and reflective. While there is a certain unevenness in the book that accompanies this emotion undulation, the movement from joy to pain and back is honestly conveyed, what is captured in his book are not just portraits of “women/in their brief prime/smiling, smiling” (Mat. Leave) but a voice that is keen, convincing and utterly captivating.