Book of the Month, February 2023 – Salt and Metal by Sallyanne Rock

Hi, there. Maggie Shaw here, proud owner of Eregendal and author.

As a lifelong lover of reading, each month I choose one of my favourite books – and tell you all about it.

For February’s Book of the Month I have chosen the poetry collection Salt and Metal by Sallyanne Rock, published by Fawn Press in 2022. Sallyanne is a freelance copywriter and poet based in Worcestershire, UK. Fawn Press was founded in 2021 to publish ‘exceptional poetry pamphlets and anthologies’. Physical and PDF copies of the booklet can be purchased from their website, https://fawnpress.co.uk/product/preorder-salt-metal-by-sallyanne-rock/

Salt and Metal was recommended to me by fellow Cheshire poet Carol Finch. I had planned to review a poetry book shortly as I will be publishing a second volume of poetry with Eregendal in April, and the recommendation came at the right time. The subject matter was also of interest to me, having experienced domestic violence in a previous relationship in the past. I was curious to see how another poet might express the contradictions and hidden hurts of abuse which are usually concealed from the world.

The poems follow a woman’s experiences as she enters a close relationship to find out too late that her partner is abusive. The opening poem, Charles de Gaulle airport security desk warns of what the future holds for the poet, and for the reader in the pages ahead. The collection then leads the reader through the often murky and confused experiences of the victim in an abusive relationship, until final release some fourteen years later. The most powerful poem for me was the poem Corrasion, which skilfully describes the way a narcissist lures their unwary victim into a relationship with soft blandishments, only to transform into a vicious predator once snared in their net. I could also identify with the list poem Improvised weapons found in and around the home, and the short essay-like piece, The man is a jealous thief, which describes the techniques an abuser uses to belittle and control their victim.

This powerful short pamphlet of poetry would particularly appeal to people who have experienced or are still living with domestic abuse and violence. It expresses honestly the feelings of trapped innocence, the fear, the manipulation, the dreams of escape, and reassuringly ends with a message of hope, that it is possible to escape such a relationship, and to find a better life in freedom.

So there we have it, February’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in March as I’ll be revealing another must read.

Take care,

Maggie x

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