Poetry Pages III: UNBELONG, By Isolde Mason

UNBELONG, By Isolde Mason.jpg

This instalment of Poetry Pages features the debut anthology from Isolde Mason, UNBELONG. Mason describes the collection as being ‘for the most part a response to never feeling beautiful enough and the stresses of being a woman in the world we live in’, and deals with these topics sensitively but boldly, never being afraid to ensure the point is put across. 

This instalment is also slightly shorter than usual, and with good reason – I will be hosting an interview with Isolde Mason in the near future on this blog, in which she will be able to speak for herself about her writing process, favourite pieces, and intentions with UNBELONG. For now, here is what I thought of it, but don’t forget to check back soon to hear what the author herself has to say.

Structure: 32 poems on a range of topics from beauty standards to childhood, influenced by classical literature, mythology, real-life experiences, nature, and far more besides. The dedication is the best of any book I’ve read, referencing a teacher who called Mason’s work terrible, and the acknowledgments are also worth a read, providing further insight into some of the poems as well as a sarcastic thank-you to the ills of society that inspired her.

Aesthetics: growing up too quickly and too slowly at the same time / stretch marks / attending your first rally / ‘never feeling beautiful enough’ / expanding nebulae / looking at a piece of art and not understanding it / rot / drinking to oblivion / prom night / infancy / childhood defiance and childhood compliance / thick curls / self-acceptance / crying to literary figures at 3am / pretending shots don’t burn your throat / annotated manuscripts / rolling thunder, raging seas / witch trials / naming the storm so it seems less dangerous / hiding out of necessity and not desire / petticoats / ‘too-hot summers’ / luck and superstition.

Favourite poem: Either Word of God or Young Woman’s Protest. Word of God instantly caught my attention with its non-standard grammar and punctuation – it feels almost like an artwork as well as a poem. Young Woman’s Protest is simply painfully relatable.

Favourite quotes:

  • ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, / Come back for me’ -My Name is the Red Sun

  • ‘it is home / it is a billion miles away // i think we are both newborn’ -child there is no such thing as oblivion

  • ‘I want to go back to the party like nothing happened after throwing up in the bathroom! / I want to change the course of history!’ -Young Woman’s Protest

You’ll like it if you like these songs: Fear and Loathing, by Marina and the Diamonds / Dreams, by the Cranberries / Girls Your Age, by Transviolet. 

Lucy AllisonComment