My Darling from the Lions

Tin House. Sept. 2021. 88p. ISBN 9781951142711. pap. $16.95. POETRY
Founder of the London-based Octavia Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, Long debuts with a Costa short-listed and Guardian best-booked portrait of a Black woman’s coming of age. There’s bittersweet remembrance (“her teenage bedroom/ in the upstairs window/ of someone else’s house”), the dating game (“Contorting myself three ways in the toilet mirror,/ I decide I won’t look like this forever./ I don’t even look like this now”), and new adult worries (“my head was heavy with bills, wine, yesterday’s/ deadline”), as well as many references to Long’s gutsy mum.

VERDICT Several poems here catch the poet asleep, her posture expressing the abandon that characterizes the easy flow of her language. But there’s pain here, and the prickly wit can’t be denied. For most readers.
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