Glass by Emily Cooper

Today’s review is something a little different for me as it is the first time I have ever written a review for a poetry collection (a fact which will become evident, I am sure!) I have previously been a little apprehensive about reading and writing about poetry, perhaps because I’ve never really been sure where to start or whether I will be able to appreciate the writing in full having not read a lot of poetry in the past. But I was drawn to Emily Cooper’s debut poetry title, Glass, which was published last week by Makina Books, an independent publisher who specialise in promoting emerging voices, with poetry being a particular focus. 

Emily Cooper is a writer and poet from Ireland, and as I was reading this collection, I got a sense for this affection towards a rural landscape as the poems themselves explore ideas surrounding home and home ownership, or at least the spaces we occupy which we call our own, even though these spaces have been at the heart of many lives before us, and will be home to countless others in the future. This is something which struck me from one of my favourite poems in the book, A fountain pen slices my leg through a bin bag as I move into my new house through which Cooper explores this idea of ‘guardianship rather than possession’ and this feeling of peeling back a houses layers, to find the memories that lie within them. The title poem too explores this sense of home, and architecture, beginning with the acquisition of a slide projector from a charity shop. The title of ‘Glass’ too is one that feels very fitting for this collection, as it conjures up an image of something that is strong and long-lasting, as well as something that is fragile and breakable. This is something mirrored with Cooper’s writing, and the delicacy of these poems as they take form. 

Other highlights for me within this collection include opening poem The First Casualty of the Summer, in which we consider whether something (in this case, an ice-cream) ceases to be a source of joy once it has lost its shape and form, as well as Old Lives which contemplates an alternate reality, a parallel life that exists and a potential that cannot be seen. These two poems in particular stuck with me after reading and seemed to resonate with me more in the way they explored this idea of different possibilities, again tying in with these themes of home and our connection to a certain place and time. 

Cooper’s work has featured in various publications and it is easy to see why as the voice within her poems is one of honesty and delicacy, and Glass was a collection that I enjoyed reading which has also left me interested in broadening my poetry horizons further! 

Glass was published on 26th August 2021 by Makina Books, with thanks to the publisher and Jordan Taylor-Jones for providing me with a copy for review. 

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