Finding Sea Glass by Hannah Lavery

Hannah Lavery's furious, tender and intimate new poetry pamphlet is an absolute must-read

Book Review by Beth Cochrane | 03 Apr 2019
  • Finding Sea Glass by Hannah Lavery
Book title: Finding See Glass: poems from The Drift
Author: Hannah Lavery

‘Rage took the steps/two at a time’, begins Finding Sea Glass, launching its reader into a text immersed in rage, empathy and poignancy. Written ‘to my father’, the pamphlet journeys through Lavery’s emotional relationship with her absent and now ‘gone’ father, her mixed-race identity which connects her to him and her own experiences as a mother passing her heritage on to her children. A vibrantly intimate, tender and furious pamphlet with language fizzing in Lavery’s native Scots tongue, Finding Sea Glass is an absolute must read from the newly re-established Stewed Rhubarb Press.

Lavery’s language is a revelation for spoken word poetry. Deeply emotive yet expertly crafted, it evokes much more than the story of one family’s experiences. In Scotland, You’re No Mine, the colonising and colonised history and current climate of Scotland is unflinchingly laid bare. The focal point of the pamphlet, Unravelling, acts as the apex of the rage Lavery lives with. It’s a poem which understands the complexity of true, lifelong rage – the weariness of it, its dogged persistence, and ultimately its fierce potential for creative fire.

‘All this a fucking curse! / No, never that: I will / weave, I will write – / stuff my words, rags / in their mouth.’ This is exactly what Finding Sea Glass set out to do and is in every way successful. 

Stewed Rhubarb Press, 5 Apr, £5.99