Growing is a pain. It hurts but it’s something we all have to face at some point or another in our life. We begrudgingly wave goodbye to our childhood having no idea about the world that lies in wait for us. The dark cruel world that wants us chained to a desk, while pulling others down in order to reach the top first. The one that wants us to drag loneliness and greed around the toy shop until our pockets are empty and our guilt is full. The one that whispers to you to push aside the old woman so you can board the train first and get a seat. Yes, it is a strange world isn’t it.
Today on the blog I am reviewing Growing Pains (Published March 23rd 2020) By Isabelle Kenyon, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. A big thank you to the author for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated and a pleasure to work with.
In ‘Growing Pains’ Isabelle Kenyon navigates the grey space between child and adult. From the playground wars with worms, to the value of a woman’s body as she learns to take up her own space, this collection values kindness in what appears to be an increasingly cruel society.
About The Author
Isabelle Kenyon is a northern poet and the author of This is not a Spectacle, Micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered (Origami Poetry Press) and Digging Holes To Another Continent (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York) and Potential (Ghost City Press).
She is the editor of ‘Fly on the Wall Press‘, a socially conscious small press for chapbooks and anthologies.
In 2020, she will be published by Wild Pressed Books (Short Story ‘The Town Talks‘).
In her newest chapbook Kenyon explores the natural growing pains we all face. From the grotesque games played in the playground as children to getting one’s period and reminding brothers of the process. These poems explore a mixture of themes and question the strange ways of society.
Kenyon reflects on the stresses and isolation we all face within the work place. We often take refuge in our cubical, wishing to be invisible as we worry we take up too much space. She voices our fears of how we are seen as data and just a number. We are easy to replace in seconds, we are that disposable. It’s scary to think but opens your eyes to how cutthroat the working world is. We are all living to work and there’s something not quite right about that is there?
Growing up and becoming your own person is something we all experience. Our bodies change as do our opinions. In A picture Kenyon writes about painted idols and a painted smile. This poem was reminiscent of my teenage days and having posters all over my room while reading the latest fashion magazine. We look up to our idols and have a strong belief that they can’t do any wrong. Yet we often find ourselves conflicted as the more we grow, the more we start to see that not everything is perfect. The opinions of a trashy mag and the airbrushed models don’t sit well with us as we start to understand that it is all a ploy, a façade, a picture we no longer recognise. Kenyon expresses this perfectly here and has captured the mixed feelings and confession well.
When I read Florence Tourist it reminded me of holidays as a child, being surrounded by a variety of languages and souvenirs. It made me question whether when we visit these gorgeously advertised tourist destinations, if we are actually visiting the place in question or just the pretence whilst handing over fistfuls of cash for selfie sticks. Why do we feel the need to capture everything? Even in a place of worship we check in on facebook and take a few snaps instead of showing respect and lighting a candle. Do we ever just immerse ourselves fully in the experience and live it anymore? It’s no wonder the locals go into hiding when tourist season comes around. We are a quite literally a horde of elephants stamping and trampling over their hometown with endless clicking and loud wails for directions to the nearest Starbucks. Kenyon has brought fresh attention to our tourist ways as she makes you stop and think that maybe we should try and enjoy these moments. Live them and not observe from behind a screen.
My faith in humanity was restored a little when I read Community Commute. In a city everyone is always in a hurry, pushing and rushing. There is a moment in the poem were the narrator notices a kind act and gesture that makes them think that it is enough to hold them together. Society is forever changing. It has become a place of distrust and judgmental gazes. But if there are still people offering to help in times of need, there is still hope. It is a pleasant sight to see and Kenyon has captured these moments gracefully, almost as if she has slowed down time to bear witness to the selflessness of others. Beautiful.
I give Growing Pains By Isabelle Kenyon a Four out of Five paw rating.
Kenyon’s poetry is rich with emotion and striking imagery. Her poetry is deliciously bite-sized and moreish. She questions society and speaks her mind. This is mesmerising poetry dear reader that will heighten your senses to how the smallest act of kindness is still visible in a world full of greed.
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