In nineteen short and charismatic poems Ellen Renton has been able to encapsulate all her emotions, thoughts and life into this poetry pamphlet published by Stewed Rhubarb, An Eye For An Eye For An Eye.
An Eye For An Eye For An Eye, a clever title that has many meanings. The repetition of the hermetic and yearning question How Far Can you See? features throughout this collection and morphs it’s meaning and intent as we journey with it and encapsulate all of the emotions of what it means to be visually impaired, a woman and a unique human being, to be served only certain visuals and the feelings. Ellen Renton’s words are primal, personal and poetic, without sounding like poetry.
She uses her voice simply. A stream of honest and concise consciousness. It would be easy to sit and write an essay for each of the poems contained within this collection. The poet has grown up with visual impairment that causes her to see the world differently. The title could suggest we are seeing what she sees, by using our eyes to read what she writes.
This pamphlet will make you want to write poetry, read more poetry and embrace the more awkward and difficult aspects of your own reality. Her words are powerful, charming, honest, funny and heart-breaking. Not because she embraces the technical and phonological craft of poetry, but because she writes genuinely and freely.
These poems are able to feel liberated and rule breaking which becomes apparent when reading the third How Far Can You See???. Stand out poems include All The Choirs, a collection of childhood memories remembered as an adult, On Arriving Early, a neurotic and amusing toilet adventure, Boomerang, which makes a normal bath time circle a track of varied thoughts. Every verse is so precise in it’s imagery that entire scenes and stories are presented as fully formed visual vignettes. An incredible skill that becomes more impressive as you read one poem to the next. The way Renton uses her words are like a well rehearsed speech, thoughts and phrases she has spent a life-time conjuring and figuring out how to articulate. You really get to know her. Renton is not using words and imagery to engage with you. These poems do not exist to make you conjure up second hand emotions. These words are a direct line to you, to engage with her. A superb collection where every poem and word are crucial. Get this for your poetry pile.
Eye For An Eye For An Eye is available now, published by Stewed Rhubarb