Iona Lee is a name that has been sitting at the core of Scotland’s spoken word and poetic scene for the last five years or so. Know Your Space, a poetic journal by Lee, published by Speculative Books is the first I have actually read of her work, despite knowing of her performance poetry.
Know Your Space is an interactive experience, beautifully designed and delicately assembled if you wish it to be such. The words ponder our feminine place within society and a world that was devised for men. They are also refreshingly confident and satirical in this poetic journal as it considers things like colouring within the confines of the lines of a mental health colouring book, or thinking within the box, and many other approaches and considerations for women in this society.
Personally I avoided the interactive elements of the book, and focussed entirely on the words and meaning behind each of the elements. It’s not the first of these interactive journals that Speculative have published, with Alan Bissett’s Lazy Susan being a novella that allowed you to choose your own adventure. They’re interesting to see emerge, though I did brood on whether this type of publication allows you to lose the meaning or find yourself floundering somewhere in the midst of this, or maybe that is the whole point.
However, if you simply just read the words, I get it. Strong prose and considered imagery make this a wonderful though short read. Pick it up, read, interact, let me know how that works out for you. I think we might all agree on one thing, Iona Lee is not escaping this spoken word scene anytime soon.
Know Your Space is available now, published by Speculative Books.