An Amateur Review of & by Amy Kinsman

First published on Patreon 20th September 2018

I met Amy at Verbose Manchester back in May and I loved their performance. So, naturally, I found their twitter and ordered their pamphlet.

In short, I like it. This is hardly a surprise seeing as I’ve enjoyed both of the collections I’ve reviewed. Either I’ve had terrific luck thus far or I’m not terribly discerning. I rather hope it’s the former or these reviews will just become adverts really fast. But we’ll cross that particular bridge when we get to it.

The collection is mythic and sensual. Even when Amy is talking about themself I get a sense of distance, like they’re writing their own beautifully mundane legend. There’s a level of gentility in their writing I really appreciate, one that softens the occasionally explicit sexuality of the pamphlet.

However, this gentility and mysticism sometimes tips into meandering. The longest piece, it’s like this feels about 1/3 too long. It’s beautifully written, unashamedly bi/queer and takes its time exploring the ambivalent complexity of romantic/sexual past loves. But it could maybe do with a little more haste.

I think Amy’s strongest pieces are the briefest ones. the moth, the moon and the bathroom light is only 13 lines long and is easily my favourite poem in the collection. The second stanza is a thing of beauty and I would love to see it on a print/poster:

the moth knows nothing of lycanthropy –
satellites, orbits, celestial bodies, gods, tides,
devoted insect that it is, hurting, forgetting

That being said, this is still a well crafted, heartfelt, gentle collection. It blunts the harshest edges of difficult emotions so it can slip between your ribs and nestle behind your heart without you even noticing. I’ll be thinking about this for a while.

You can find & in some of the following places:

Amazon/Indigo Dreams

Cover image is the cover of &: A white ampersand on a brick wall. ‘Winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017’ is printed across the top.