I loved the Lunar Postcards themed poems which takes the reader to space and back in a satirical manner that pokes fun at that outer space. Michelle writes, "we season freeze-dried macaroni/ with liquid salt and pepper/ water is distilled, recycled/ from our breath and sweat./ after a week of granola bars,/ nuts and bitter orange juice,/ the commander's arm/ begins to look tasty" - Space Gourmet. Hahahahaha! I found that pretty funny. It's a hallucination allowed only when you know it can't happen. Otherwise all the alien stories might start sounding creepier.
Michelle's work also shows a lifetime of consuming work from poets far and wide. Between the lines it's easy to find references to beliefs held gospel in other cultures which you might find a little akward. Such as dedications to people you might have heard of but failed to formulate an opinion about. On the person Bertha Mason Speaks, she writes, "now that you've heard Jane's side of the story, what I wish to tell you is this; that I floated on a celestial conflagration of saffron frangipani only to plummet, petrified, into a voodoo tomb; that within these stone walls time became obsolete; no market days, no festivals, no seasonal ebb and flow; that mocking echoes dogged this stifling boudoir and rattled within my bones".
In this collection Michelle takes on different personalities, often conflicting and in disharmony. It however is her style of lucid poetry and sensual delivery that lays the groundwork for this work of art. It is almost like a fresh paint on a tired canvas; or adding the 13th disciple at the Last Supper painting.
The Suitable Girl is classic Michelle, flowing, lucid and engaging. Get the copy at your nearest bookstore or get Pindrop Press, the publishers to send you one. When we look back at South African poetry fifty years from now, The Suitable Girl will be one of those we try to understand. So, get it today!
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