‘Rachel Long’s My Darling from the Lions, nominated for the Forward first collection prize, is alive with a breathless energy.’

Rachel Long’s My Darling from the Lions (Picador, £10.99), nominated for the Forward first collection prize, is alive with a breathless energy. The founder of the Octavia Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, Long writes with keen wit and delight in rendering the world new; an estate is described as “built like Tetris”, afros become orbs, dolls become a means by which to write about identity with a refreshing verve. There is pain woven alongside the giddy sensuality and sharp precision too (“A diary / isn’t a diary till / you won’t show anyone”). She is especially good at making the unfamiliar feel perfectly right and natural: “And even though I was green / I was The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.” A book of “serious play”.

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