on 2 July 2004
I bought this collection having read and enjoyed several of Margaret Atwood's novels, and wanting to find out if her poetry is as enjoyable as her prose. Thirty years of poetic output are sampled in this collection, in which the poems are printed in chronological order of writing. This allows you to follow the development of Atwood's poetic voice, which becomes increasingly experimental as time passes. The poetry bears the unmistakable imprint of Atwood's mind - the style will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has read a couple of her novels. These poems concentrate on similar themes to the novels: gender relations, humanity's relationship with the environment, power structures within sexual relationships, Canadian life, the darker undertones of the natural world. The selected poetry complements Atwood's novels as you can watch her explore similar territory in a different way. These poems are short, intense and highly enjoyable to read, although I found some of the 1970s poetry difficult to get to grips with.