Twelve Books Challenge: StillWritten by The Young Women's Movement
This year, we’ve resolved to dive into our book collections and our e-readers and give some much-needed attention to the neglected stories within. So to help keep us to that promise, the team will be reading and reviewing twelve books by women over the course of the year. We’re excited. We’ve set up a Goodreads page where you can see what we’re reading.
We’d love to hear your suggestions for books – pop us a message at @youngwomenscot on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. And if you’ve read any of these, or are inspired to write your own reviews, do let us know your thoughts.
Our March review comes from Ally Crockford, digital media officer, who read Still, a forthcoming pamphlet by up-and-coming Edinburgh poet Nadine Aisha.
Still, by Nadine Aisha
Reviewed by Ally Crockford
I am a lifelong reader, a book addict, a literature student and, later, scholar. I love the thrill that comes from reading or creating a perfectly balanced phrase, words and punctuation crafted with the precision of musical notation.
That’s why it often surprises me that I am rarely ever drawn to poetry. I have always been a lover of finely wrought prose, but even the most renowned poems, however beautiful or poignant, don’t capture me in the same way.
So when I come across poetry that shuts out the rest of the world; when I can’t be pulled away by the relentless pinging of the washer or the buzz of notifications on my phone, I get pretty excited.
I first came across Nadine Aisha’s poetry through a colleague, and I enjoyed it so much that when I heard about the launch of Aisha’s first published pamphlet, Still, I requested an advance copy to review for my #12books challenge.
The Young Women’s Movement is committed to celebrating the voices of young women in Scotland, and Aisha’s poetry is a stunning example of the power and multiplicity of those voices.
The body of voices in Still encapsulate strength and vulnerability together, sharing glimpses of lives that resonated with my own, and no doubt will with many women.
Women’s experiences are unequivocally at the core of Aisha’s poems. Opening with a meditation on the love and correspondences between generations of women, the pamphlet moves on to address the quiet violence of ingrained racism and sexism as well as the brutality of its more vicious symptoms, most notably street harassment.
Aisha beautifully navigates the reality of growing up in a world where a girl’s superpower is ‘that she can tell the sound of a man/without even looking up’, always returning to the strength of women’s voices woven together.
Although it is a short collection, Still is a powerful celebration of resilience, compassion, and love; a perfect companion for a warm afternoon coffee break or a cup of tea on a dreich evening.