Read Women Write 2014/15 Book 11: Lava Lamp Poems: Colleen Higgs

Colleen Higgs - Lava Lamp Poems
Colleen Higgs – Lava Lamp Poems

It has been a while since I’ve done any reviews. I normally read at least one book a week, and it has taken me nearly six to read the last one. This has a lot to do with trying to do #NaNoWriMo (and failing), and the fact that I’ve had a rough time in my own life lately. So, there are three more reviews coming soon, all from South African writers. But first, here is number 11 – Lava Lamp Poems, by Colleen Higgs.

Colleen is the writer, poet, and publisher behind Modjaji Books. She has also published a collection of her short stories called Looking for Trouble. 

Modjaji’s collection of titles has won a million awards, and prizes, and accolades and all those fabulous things, and they are entirely well deserved. She also published Bom Boy, and the My First Time collection (which I edited). So I generally think she’s awesome, and she is doing so much for African women writers, particularly those from Southern Africa.

Poetry is one of the few things I’ve been able to write in the last while, my heart too full for fiction’s rules. In typical A-type personality fashion, I want to make sure I’m doing it right so I’ve been reading a lot more poetry myself.

I read some of Higgs’ poetry in the Pumpkin Seed collection, which I reviewed a while back, and so thought it would be good to make Colleen’s collection my second poetry read. I don’t regret it at all. I still haven’t got any skills to review poetry, but I think what I like about Higgs’ collection is the capturing of the moments in lives that we all experience, but don’t really stop to think about.

My two favourite parts from the collection are from two different poems. From “thoughts I started having about the Wimpy after I saw my ex-lover there with his long-lost-after-all-these-years American girlfriend” I loved the line

I had a Hawaiian chicken burger, it came with a piece of pineapple. Pineapple means Hawaiian.

And from “Stroke” I loved the second and third lines of the first stanza

Stroke: a word full of tenderness and aggression

and terrible consequences.

The poems show that Higgs observes everything around her, and knows not only the words to capture it, but the words to capture the feeling of something in ways that allow you to think of times in your life that you’ve had a similar feeling. I really enjoyed the collection, and the chance to read more poetry.

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