Thursday 25 January 2024

Laurie Bolger, "Makeover"


Laurie Bolger is a London-based writer and founder of The Creative Writing Breakfast Club. Her debut pamphlet Box Rooms (Burning Eye) has been featured at Glastonbury, TATE, RA & Sky Arts. Laurie’s writing has appeared in The Poetry Review, The London Magazine, Magma, Stand, and Trinity College Icarus. Her poems and short stories have been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, Live Canon, Winchester and Sylvia Plath Prizes. In 2023, Laurie’s poem ‘Parkland Walk’ was awarded The Moth Prize, judged by Louise Glück, and Highly Commended in the Forward Prize for Poetry. It features in Makeover (The Emma Press, 2024). Her website is here

About Makeover, by Laurie Bolger
Makeover is a book dripping with nostalgia, cigarette ash and sour cream dip. Lit by too-close TV screens and too-bright calorie counters, Bolger's poems explore growing up, differing bodies and societal expectations. Writing in praise of mums, nans and sisterhood, this is a work bursting with strength, anger, love and, ultimately, hope. In a celebration of girls shaped by swimming baths and Working Men’s Clubs, friendship and family, Makeover contends with what we inherit and what we ought to pass on. 

You can read more about Makeover on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a sample poem from the collection. 

From Makeover

Stand Together Nicely, Girls

On a stranger’s front steps
you tell me to hold on 
while you sort your hair out,
and to make sure I get the bridge in the background.

I feel like our Mum 
when we were small, 
that one of us two 
stood on our front porch 
in new school uniforms, 
matching grey jumpers
on top of little girl vests, 
or that one of us on Halloween,
you holding out a cauldron 
in plastic witch’s fingers
me dressed as the Phantom of the Opera 
in a bin bag and wonky mask,
or us in the pink bath 
with bubbles on our heads
or matching hats at weddings 
or on the top deck of ferries 
all foreheads and frowns 
or in my graduation gown 
or matching fringes and wigs 
us two dressed as clowns,
or in the beach bar red-faced,
our hair braided like snakes,
or at the Christmas table
in our best clothes,
or you on long car journeys,
mouth open against the window.

On the plane home
I want to wake you up,
tell you that the view is magic,
all those little lights —
rows of humans lean over 
to get a photo out the window.

I take one to show you
I take one for my screensaver
I take one to show our Nan — 
who’s never seen the earth from here.

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