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March 19, 2018 | by  | in Arts Books |
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The Facts by Therese Lloyd

The first thing that draws you in about Therese Lloyd’s new collection, The Facts, is the soft, serene, and melancholic painting, Heather Straka’s Honey Trap 12, on its cover. Inside the oval border is a pale young woman with her back turned, her brown hair in a messy bun, and she is clad in only a small black bra.

The image invokes silence, introversion, privacy, isolation — all themes that are at the forefront of Lloyd’s new collection that deals with deep personal feelings of love, loss, betrayal, helplessness, and a quest to start again.

The second poem, “This Time Around”, was an immediate favourite. It describes a shotgun wedding, and its sense of recklessness and impulsivity establishes the nature, and narrative, of the relationship that runs through the entire book. But these intense feelings evaporate in the last line, which marks the end of the beginning, as the lovebirds return to the wedding venue to clean, rather than enjoy their marital bliss.

This recklessness turns to restlessness in another standout poem, “Democratic Moves”, which is a list of “broken things”. They are broken seemingly because of an underlying struggle with a generational transfer of being unable to live up to the idea of Woman. Lloyd details the struggles of the mother, with her scones, slices, and “quiet pills”, which have been transferred onto the daughter, with her extreme boredom and bad habits.

The titular poem, The Facts, has a fervent sweeping narrative where the relationship unfolds and collapses as the loss and betrayal is laid bare. The feelings and wounds are raw and full of anger, but towards the end there is a sense of pragmatism, reflection, and potential recovery.

Two of my favourites from the final section were “Rebound”, with its brilliant opening line of “it shat itself”, and “Funeral Playlist,” which delves right back into the darkness and troubled emotions from earlier poems to remind us that nothing is all and well still.

Lloyd has brilliantly mixed short, blunt, and punchy poems with long, winding, and rich narratives that tie The Facts together into one beautifully powerful and emotive collection. This book is one I will return to again and again, as I found new wonderful ideas and images each time I read and reread it over the past few weeks.

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