Poetry, Short Stories & Plays
In Emily Bilman’s The Undertow, the reader is taken on an infinite voyage through memories of love and loss. Gustave Flaubert wrote: Only three things are infinite. The sky in its stars, the sea in its drops of water, and the heart in its tears. To be caught up in the under-currents of the sea is to be driven deeper than one might feel comfortable and to risk going beyond what the conscious mind can bear and control. We are told that life first began in the sea and perhaps we are involved in its darkness shot through with sudden gleams of light like the glow of precious pearls. Emily Bilman has found that the sonnet form has the power to distil the deepest human experiences. Many of the poems in this book are sonnets alternating between the Petrarchan and the Shakespearean traditions. The small box of the sonnet becomes a stage in which the inner conflicts arising out of life and love are dramatised and resolved. To read The Undertow is to undertake an exhilarating poetic voyage and discover the poet’s quest for light.
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