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Matches by Catherine Gander

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'Poetic language, at its best, makes the strange familiar, the familiar strange. These poems go further by giving language to estrangement. Gander makes a devastating articulation of the violence done to women who see themselves solely and cruelly through the eyes of another. The daily losses of power in a clarity that is astonishingly brave, of which we almost never speak—the unspeakable remittance of selfhood that women suffer. What these poems make possible is the rarest chance for healing; I feel changed, alive, compelled by her courage.' - Sandeep Parmar

'Matches holds its fierce and sudden light close to us, revealing the hidden world of domestic violence. Inch by inch, Catherine Gander explores the anatomy of abuse, allowing the reader to inhabit the darkest and loneliest of places with her. Through deftly woven images and brilliant sequences, we witness how a woman can be taken apart: this is echoed in how poems are dismantled before our eyes - deranged villanelles, poems written backwards, poems crouching in corners all demand to have their stories told. Although much is bruised, cracked, still tender to the touch within these pages, there is strength and wisdom in each astonishing phrase, “blazing cometary/ like the flaring of a match.' Olga Dermott-Bond.

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