“[A] dazzling and immensely readable collection.” — Andrew McMillan
‘never say / the best of summer’s gone’, the poem asks, a plea for permanence that sustains throughout Fondue, the second collection by A. K. Blakemore. In these louche, candid poems, bearing the marks of Mary Ruefle, Emily Dickinson and The Smiths, the inner life prowls, smoking a cigarette, as the fantasies of sex and violence allowed to play out in the subjugations that have long been the poet’s concerns. Here they are exposed, interrogated and attacked with a fierce melancholy. These lines understand their power to manipulate: ‘this is a poem about my mouth / intended to draw attention / to my mouth’, the title poem instructs.
This is what I like; this is what I don’t like ‘i want you / like a scorpion down my shirt’ there is a plaintive charisma in the ability to ask for the things a body needs. And for all of Blakemore’s defiance, the savagery and storm, this world holds a prismatic, surprising beauty, the beauty of rain-washed streets, of comedown mornings, of the potential for tenderness in the brutality of love and play. The poet who can strike so fiercely at the times when ‘truth is just a sharp thing you stand on in the night’ can also conclude ‘but god i love the world. the things you do’. Tigerish, impetuous, quick-witted and never self pitying, Fondue reaffirms Blakemore’s place on the barricades.