Sarah Kain Gutowski
For the most part, I am not a fan of poetry, it is just a world of writing that for whatever reason has never appealed to me. All the more reason then, to sing the praises of this wonderful collection of poems by Sarah Kain Gutowski which hooked me immediately, leading me to read the whole collection in one sitting.
Not that this wasn’t an easy task, the book is short, only twenty pages or so but feels much longer as the weight of the words slowing time as I read.
Perhaps the reason I felt so attached to this particular collection, was that the individual poems made up an over arching narrative, making the book read more like a novella in the form of poems than a regular poetry collection.
The story is that of a sow on a farm. One with the knowledge of its place in life, knowing it exists purely to breed, giving off its litter until the day comes where it can breed no longer at which point it will be sold for its meat. The sow also possesses the ability to transform into a number of other creatures, most prominently featured being the human figures of a young woman and the deceased wife of the farmer.
It is an unusual concept and one I found deeply sad, the sow’s knowledge of its unavoidable fate and the joy it seems to express as it transforms into the more malleable, more capable human form was heartbreaking.
The text’s meditations on motherhood were also emotive. The initial poem opens with the sleeping sow in danger of killing her litter in her sleep should she roll over and the text suggests a conflict of emotions mothers might expect. The love of their children and the sadness experienced as they grow and must leave the nest.
While not a lover of poetry, I do have respect for it as a craft. The writer must work with such a limited canvas, picking their words carefully to get across their point. Gutowski does this perfectly, to provide such an engaging and emotive tale in such a small text is a commendable feat. Not a word is wasted and the poems are perfectly crafted.
Having received this book through a goodreads giveaway I couldn’t be happier. Not something I would have picked up myself, it was a welcome surprise, a chance to set foot in unknown territory. It is a fascinating text and one I will undoubtedly return to, to try and glean more understanding of, to peel another layer away from the mysterious story. I’d happily recommend you pick it up and do the same.
I received this book for review through GoodReads FirstReads