Review: Nothing Unrequited Here, by Heather Bell
A couple of weeks ago, I told you that former Featured Poet, Heather Bell (née Schimel!), had been accepted for publication with the fantastic Verve Bath Press… and I told you to get your butts over to their Etsy and buy the book, not only to support Heather but also to support this very deserving little press!
Well, I couldn’t very well tell you lot to do it and not do it myself, could I? And I was absolutely thrilled when my copy of Nothing Unrequited Here landed in my mailbox. My first impression was: this book is gorgeous! Every single book produced by Verve Bath Press is handmade and handbound by the lovely and incredibly hardworking Amanda, and she’s done a brilliant job on Heather’s behalf. The covers are beautiful and the inner pages are meticulously laid out and dotted with cute inkstamps and illustrations! The book would make a beautiful addition to anyone’s bookshelf, and I’d like to take this opportunity to say: support Amanda and Verve Bath Press, so they can keep on turning out beautiful books by deserving poets!
And what a deserving poet Heather Bell is. I’ve been reading her work for over a year and waiting for the day that a publisher sat up and took notice. Heather is prolific to the max, never seeming to run out of words, which she weaves into striking, shocking, remarkable poems. Nothing Unrequited Here is a showcase of all her talents - with smart, sassy, sexy and funny poems like Small Tits lined up next to sweet, sad confessions like The One Bedroom Apartment. Heather’s voice is proud, unashamedly feminist and unmistakeably American, as evidenced in the journey that is Where We Have Been, or the spiralling prose-poem When Nothing Is More Beautiful Than This. This is not poetry that sits back to be appreciated and then moved on from - this is poetry that slaps you in the face and demands attention, poetry that sticks in your head like a great pop song. Heather’s work can be challenging, it can be frustrating, and it has a tendency to make you think and feel things that you might not expect to think and feel when you settle down to read a seemingly harmless little book of verse. However, Heather’s real gift is her ability to speak to her readers - no matter who they are - and truly touch and inspire them. Undoubtedly the best poem in this excellent collection is Before You Make Love, an epic, excrutiatingly honest piece that has the power to make poets of all of us. It’s a poem that says “everything is beautiful, even the bad things, even the ugly things.” Nothing is off-limits in Heather’s poetry, and that’s undoubtedly the key to its success.
So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a copy of Nothing Unrequited Here - available from Verve Bath Press for just $10.