The sea turned thick as honey
So often poetry starts as a matter of poise and commitment, which Singlehurst possesses in abundance, and then it’s a matter of what you do with it; some new intimacy, a freshly dazzling way with imagery, the new honesty of the most excruciating thoughts, pure longing. The more disconcerting the subject matter of The sea turned thick as honey, the more keenly felt, the more deeply consolingly the poetry rises to meet it. A wonderful, urgent debut, as ambitious and far-reaching as it is assured.
Holly Singlehurst’s pamphlet, The sea turned thick as honey, is ravishing, intoxicating and disorientating in its originality and skill. Formed through intricate, delicate, unexpected images that melt into each other with fluidity, confidence and exuberance, I found myself bereft when I had finished reading the twenty-five brilliant poems. From the opening poem ‘Exoskeleton’ with the unforgettable line ‘Two snails were curled together, their shells nervously bumping / like teeth in a first kiss’, to ‘Love song from a seaside souvenir shop’ that finishes the book with ‘…and I’ll laugh and say, I know just what you mean’, it is completely and utterly irresistible. Read it, read it, read it.
Utterly corporeal and electric, Singlehurst’s poems are hymns to the body – exploring its permeability, its resonances and its many eroticisms. ‘I once pissed on my hand / just to prove I was warm’ writes Singlehurst in a characteristic moment of bravery and bravado. And yet desire here is carefully weighted with a need to expose just what it means to be absolutely present, sensory and attuned to the world. ‘I am a bowl filled with blood’ writes Singlehurst, evoking a second voice, something lucid and almost incantatory echoing away beneath the heat of these poems, offering us something truly multifarious and fiercely intelligent.