Hera Lindsay Bird
by Hera Lindsay Bird

I picked up this collection because one of the poems is about bisexuality and I found what the author had to say about it very appealing:

“It’s boring to have to be constantly policing people’s perceptions of you, from both the straight and queer community, and sometimes it’s more fun to get thoroughly on board and beat people at their own game. Sometimes it’s better to hijack the train of public opinion and drive it straight into a river. I thought, instead of earnestly arguing on message boards about inclusion, whatever bad things you think about me, fine, let me make them worse.” (Refinery29)

Some of her love poems are also about men and some about women. I find cetrain parts of the Bisexuality poem witty and refreshingly indifferent to respectability politics, embracing the stereotypes about bisexuals being double agents, and expressing the alienation that comes with not belonging anywhere:

“To be bisexual is to be out of office, even to yourself
Like a rare sexual Narnia and no spring in sight
They won't let you out of the closet to get back in again
Deep in the winter coats, a little snow starts falling…

Everyone assumes you want to fuck them………and they're right
but you're also bad girl, with a kinky….goodbye fetish
Always bursting into tears in the hotel lobby!
Gliding off in a taxi, with a briefcase full of military secrets”

Year of publication:

Country of publication:
New Zealand

Page count:

Would I recommend this book?

But other parts of the poem earnestly parrot cliches and tired imagery (“It's an ancient sexual amphibiousness / It's like climbing out of a burning building into too much water”). Unfortunately, that’s a reflection of the whole collection - there are a couple of brilliant moments but most of the poems should have stayed in the drafts.

This is a debut collection and it reads that way - the author feels very juvenile, she has nothing to say and she’s saying it badly. Most of the poems consist of endless similes, trying to express what love is like (“it’s like a rose in an earthquake” “It’s like loading a catapult with a catapult and catapulting it into irony”). The author said she used text generators to come up with “extravagant metaphors” and you can tell. A lot of the imagery is nonsensical and most of the poems needed to be edited down to a fraction of the length.

Bird’s poetry resonates with a social media audience. She finds the term Instapoet “dumb and sexist” but it seems unfortunately appropriate. The only difference between Bird and say, Rupi Kaur, is that Bird is a lot more wordy while expressing equally shallow sentiments, and that she seems to be aware of her own impotence as a poet.

“But it gives me no pleasure
To mean so little
And get so far away with it
What is there to say about love that hasn’t already been”

She also calls her poetry “fake nostalgia”, “chaste vulgarity” and “grandiose mediocrity” so at least we can give her credit for being honest. She might mature into a decent poet one day but I’m not in a hurry to pick up her next collection.