Friday, 22 June 2012

Review: Skin Painting

Skin Painting
Skin Painting by Elizabeth Hodgson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've borrowed this book a couple of times from the library, but this time I finished it. And I'm glad I did. I didn't realise until I'd gotten through the first few poems that it was a verse novel/memoir.

Hodgson's experience of Christianity made it a difficult read for me. It always is difficult and humbling and horrifying and appalling to me to be reminded how Godawful the so-called Christian treatment of indigenous peoples here or elsewhere. It was not unlike "Every Secret Thing" in that way; although the definite Catholicism there was a distancing factor in that book, in a way that the presumable Protestant-ness of Skink Painting just didn't have.

I loved the way Hodgson dealt with the lover of her guardian; the way it was concealed for the first poem and revealed in the second. I like these sorts of things.

The final poem was the best and is my favourite, the power behind the repeated "I will not", the certainty of her position in the world and her unwillingness to let anyone or anything threaten that... I wish I had that - and I would love to be able to get that from that poem.

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