A thing of beauty

I have the great privilege of hosting a gorgeous little open mic once a month on a Friday lunchtime, on behalf of Poets’ Café online. All who come are gifted, warm and receptive to the work of others, hence why I feel blessed to be a part of this monthly poetry meet.

One of our regular readers is the talented Karen Izod, whose work I have come to greatly admire. The sharp observation and poignancy typical of Karen’s poetry lingers long after it is heard. And so, when she arrived to one online session with a rather beautiful little book in hand, I was keen to know more.

Karen was one of two winners of Coast to Coast to Coast’s fourth poetry prize in 2021, with 35 of her limited edition journals created this year.

Bright and beautifully crafted, each of Karen Izod’s ‘While there is hope’ editions is a work of art, with the design, creation and stitch from the fair hands of Maria Isakova Bennett. My admiration of these books goes further than aesthetics, with Karen’s poems every bit as lovingly formed – precise, contemplative and powerful – this short series of poems is a bundle of perfection.

As her preface, Karen explains that early in the pandemic, when so little was known about the virus, she found herself exploring ideas of how hope sustains, what we hold on to in ourselves and in the world and questioning how long we can hold out for something before we give up or allow in feels of despair.  As the pandemic continued with feelings of being trapped, coerced, or caught up in much larger environmental concerns, themes of loss and change, questions of how we might bring ourselves to these changes, and what we might see as progress emerged.

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