All’s fair in love and war, as the Old Fart of Avon, or Stratford, or Wherever TF, once said. (It wasn’t Shakespeare though. Okay? Do not attribute that to Shakespeare. He was the Bard. Not the Fart. Also, I just checked attribution.)
Bearing that in mind, if there’s a theme permeating Bianca Bowers’ terrific Love is a Song She Sang From a Cage, it’s love, as the title suggests. Although the love on display is not just in the negative sense described by the title, the poems are thematically driven by a loss of love, or love that is less than salubrious in the senses of romance or mutual respect.
Whether the poet’s voice is playing the dom or the sub in the relationships described, Bowers is on form with an awesome series of analogies – such as having a remote-controlled heart, or identifying with Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct character Catherine Trammell.
These images are found in two of the darker pieces.
Playing out the idea of remote-controlled love, with wires and an eponymous timer thrown in, for instance, the narrator implies that he or she’s not in total emotional control, that they could abandon their relationship at any point. Hence the opening line of this review: All’s fair in love. Sure, the devastation of heartbreak can suggest an element of psychopathy from the heartbreaker.
But this able poet captures both sides in the collection. There are other pieces that wonderfully render the poet as victim of circumstance, of abandonment or of unrequited love. Diverse in length, subject and structure, there’s a haiku-like concision to some of the verse too.
I learned a new word from the collection too (or perhaps re-learned an old one, given the pliability of memory and vocabulary): Caliginous. Dark, dim or misty, according to the first definition that pops up from the Google. More of these poems might have an uncertainty to them if not for the confidence of Bowers’ voice. No doubt she can pull off such a feat when she chooses, but with descriptions of such emotional intelligence, and of powerful language, what we often get instead is razed houses, or conflagrations of pages of poetry, or an insistence that memories of lust or love could be turned to ash if the poet so chose.
Indeed, again, the collection’s theme seems to tie in, both neatly and more broadly, with the fantastic title. Love is a Song She Sang From A Cage is available at Amazon.