Recommended Reading: She Will Soar
This May, the Mum Poet Club recommended reading is "She Will Soar" edited by Ana Sampson. Mum Poet Club member Daisie Lane tells us why.
She Will Soar is an anthology containing 130 poems about freedom, all written by women and collated by Ana Sampson. The book is an eclectic mix of both classic and modern poetry, containing the poems of Carol Ann Duffy, Hollie McNish, Nikita Gill, Fiona Benson and Liz Berry, to name a few.
It is a call to arms. It is a celebration of how far we have come, as women, in our freedom, but also a reminder of how frustrated we still are and how far we still have left to go. It is a mirror reflecting ourselves back at us. It is an enchanting, inspiring collection rather like a garden of wildflowers: some you know, some you don’t, some are bold, some are pretty, some are oak trees hundreds of years old, and some are young fresh shoots in the grass. The words cross eras, backgrounds and lands, but all feature the same sense of escapism, yearning, wanderlust, hope, strength, and determination.
She Will Soar takes you on a journey all over the world, scratching the itch to spread your wings. It changes pace throughout but ends in peace, reflection, and tranquillity in the final chapter. Fitting perhaps, as the book was put together just before the world locked down, when travel came to a halt and everything that we knew about freedom changed overnight. Aptly, many of us turned to reading and writing during this time to escape life’s difficulties, as so many women past and present have also done within these poems.
A personal favourite is “Galway Dreaming” by Selena Godden, who lusts after the “golden syrup” life in Ireland rather than the “blurred fog” of London. Reading that poem, sat in my new garden after recently moving house, listening to the sound of the birds, I let out “one, slow exhalation” just as Godden did in the final line of her poem. Her words brought me back to the sense I always had of longing to be somewhere else, followed by the satisfying feeling of ‘I am now exactly where I need to be.’ So many of the poems in this collection resonate deeply in the plight of womanhood, whether it be our calls for something more, acknowledgment of our strengths or simply serving as a reminder of how hard we have to work to feel free.
There are even beautiful nods to motherhood in poems like ‘The Worlds’ by Rachel Piercey, who talks about her Mum who “makes us the world as wide as the world, and as small as the circle of her arms.”
Ana Sampson has a gift, not only for collating poetry, but for writing, too. Her introductions to each section are a welcome addition, thoughtfully written, offering new insights and punctuating the poetry at the right moments. Her passion permeates the pages which adds to the delight and interest of the book.
She Will Soar is perfect for any poetry lover, or indeed an ideal gift from one woman to another, given with a silent nod of unity as we all understand one another’s plight, both in history and the present day. How wonderful to be able to capture the minds of so many incredible women and then set them free on the wings of this book.