Wry, observant and deeply human, the poems in this collection provide a glimpse less into one woman’s life than into the collective consciousness of shoe-shopping, Cosmo-reading, dinner-party-hosting, career-forging women everywhere. Like the rhyming equivalent of a witty Marie Claire blogger, Liz Cowley’s couplets will have you wincing, laughing and nodding in recognition all at once.
On the whole the poems don’t delve much deeper than that, but then that’s not their purpose. These poems don’t claim to be contemplating the universe, or at least not the universe beyond the supermarket checkout. After all, the title is the pragmatic What Am I Doing Here? rather than the more philosophical Why Am I Here?
It’s enough that they offer a moment’s respite from the stress of daily life. Like a good chat over a cup of coffee, it’s a gentle reality check, and a reminder that you’re not alone.
Some of the poems do speak beyond comically dreary self-help seminars and disastrous first dates. One glittering example is Stranded, a poem that feels written right from the heart rather than merely skimming the surface for situational humour: “No-one picks me up/ Because no light is reflected back,/ And I am far away from the tide.”The rest of the poems are crisp, clear and deliciously droll – perfect performance poems. In fact, they’ve been transformed into a show starring actress Cyrena Hayes Byrne and performed in aid of various charities.
So, while you won’t necessarily feel moved or particularly inspired, you may find yourself humming to yourself contentedly as you put the book aside and get on with your day.
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