Wild Persistence – a mood, a feeling, a cry? These two strangely moving words are the title of Katrina Naomi’s latest collection, published by Seren.

In these strange times we’re living through, it can be difficult to make sense of how we’re feeling and our place in the world. Over this period of lockdown, one of the things we’ve found is there has been more time to read. Opening the cover on a book, losing ourselves in the richness of language has helped us travel further than we have been able to physically go in recent weeks.

In a world that has become governed by the news and by so much information, it can be hard to hear yourself think. Above all of this, comes the striking and clear voice of the poems in this collection. From the outset, we are encouraged to think beyond what we know, to broaden our perspective and realise that “there are different ways to live”.

In this, her first collection since moving to Cornwall, Naomi and her poetic voice reminds us the importance of letting go: of static ways of thinking yes, but also letting go of the things that weigh us, hold us, call us backward. There is an air of motion in these poems, of the momentum to keep going, to make new discoveries whilst recognising the importance of the things that have shaped us. This is clear in poems like ‘London: A Reply’. There is sadness here, but also optimism and hope. London becomes a place to be remembered, rather than something to be tethered by. This seems to be an important message for now – it is of course, tempting to place expectations on ourselves, but, the poetic voice reminds us, it’s also Ok to let go, to find other things to assign importance to.

Overwhelmingly, importance is place on stopping. To take a breath, to take care, to unplug. With characteristic mastery of language and the starkness of honest, confronting poems combined with those that make us smile and outright laugh, Naomi has given us a compelling collection, just when we need it most.

 

Wild Persistence is available now, published by Seren.