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(O)

by Sophie Mayer

(O)

Sophie Mayer's fourth published poetry collection, (O), is a bittersweet lovesong to zombies, tattoos, lovers and sisters, Katniss and Pussy Riot, Artemis and suffragists. In three parts - I DO, I UNDO, I REDO - the poet undoes herself and all around her in a cycle that takes her back to the start as it comes to an end. Spirited, politicised, contemporary and Classical, these poems bring a poetic voice to the women that have lived in the cracks of history. In her own words: "Nothing - and everything - is sacred in this new cosmogony, beginning again with O."

The female o, the great hidden opening, is explored, exposed, metamorphosed, eroticized, defiled, queered up, laid out to scrutiny and fantasy in Sophie Mayer's rich collection (O). Sonic and graphic associations as well as torqued literary and mythical references provide the ground for contemporary lessons in seduction, pleasure, brutality, loss and trauma. Under the sign of Louise Bourgeois, Sappho, Butler­ and other girls, they advocate communal spirit, militancy and revolt as healing tools for love and personal freedom. The result is a sexually polymorphic and culturally meandering book of vows, songs, curses and kisses, complex and stirring pieces from the '(o) in the machine'. Highly recommended.

Caroline Bergvall

Mayer has created poems that process myth, history and the quotidian in a critical but generative way: they are means of viewing the constraints of language but also offer ways in which it can, in itself, become affirming and liberating. So much of this collection, with its vast erudition, clever language-usage and manipulation of 'the word', is about issues of liberty for one and all. Engage with this and you'll have a unique experience. Mayer is a poet who can draw the threads of human existence together in ways unperceived but wholly essential once you realise they are there. Sappho is back, with metatext. But maybe Sappho was metatext, and Mayer knows this.

John Kinsella

ISBN pbk 978-1-908376-98-5
ISBN hbk 978-1-908376-99-2
ISBN ebk 978-1-910345-01-6
Published May 2015