Blog Tour: Gorilla, Christine Hamm

Book Review: Gorilla, Christine Hamm

Gorilla, Christine Hamm

Poetry Collection: Gorilla, Christine Hamm

Blog Tour August 18, 2021

 

Gorilla is a collection of poems that may deserve some kind of warning label. I am thinking of the kind that get posted at swimming pools. “Do not run.” “Deep end.” “No diving.” Author Christine Hamm presents a challenging world, full of dangerous metaphors. Maybe the warning should be the one posted on ancient maps: “Here be dragons.”

 

Poetry is not for explorers who are faint of heart or quick to offense. There are no dragons in this book, but there is a gorilla who appears time and again. Other recurring objects are latrines and a black velour couch. I won’t pretend to fully understand all of the metaphors envisioned by the author, but these recurring visits tie the poems together into a creative whole.

 

These poems are prose, experimental, bold and provocative. Gorilla explores the challenges women face in the world. Although couched in allusion and metaphor, the poems look deeply into the trauma of living in a world where your sexuality is weaponized against you, your looks are deemed more important than your mind, your choices are subject to judgments from the uninformed and the busybodies that have appointed themselves arbiters of right. The eponymous gorilla appears in almost every other poem. In one poem he is teaching the narrator to drive through a combination of bluster and intimate coercion. In another he is sitting in a self-soiled swimsuit in the middle of a subway car. Throughout his behavior is boorish. It seems that the narrator has an intense relationship with this “gorilla,” one of struggle and turmoil yet one where they are bound by unseen strings tying them together. It is simultaneously uncomfortable and compelling.

 

“Here be gorillas” may not have made it onto a medieval map, but it should make it onto your reading list. It is difficult and uncomfortable. It is also a truth that needs to be spoken and heard. Transformation only comes through difficult choices. Gorilla offers (this male reader) the opportunity to see the world through other eyes and recognize the animals that boldly walk among us.

 

Christine Hamm, Author
Christine Hamm, Author

Gorilla, Christine Hamm

Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for our copy of Gorilla, given in exchange for our review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives, check out the other bloggers on this tour.

 

Gorilla, Christine Hamm

Book Review: Gorilla, Christine Hamm

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