In the powerful new poems of Gleam, Sarah Broom explores the effect of a life-threatening condition by way of the landscapes of the natural world, charting the hardest things in beautiful language. Spare and poised, the poems in Gleam have the grace and lightness of some of its own favourite images – of drifting feathers or the delicate cartilages of birds in flight.
Broom’s forte is in encapsulating, expressing and making sense of strong internal feeling and turmoil through metaphor. In controlled, sinewy language and astringent and uncluttered poems, Sarah Broom brings us not just to the deepest questions of existence but to the very experience of mortality itself: ‘we are flesh and blood after all / and we do not like to die’.
Gleam is a striking exploration of what is worth examining; who may be held on to; and what is worth saving – it will open out painful, rewarding vistas for its readers.
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Gleam is a collection profoundly attuned to human mortality in which Sarah Broom unerringly conveys the jouissance of the material world. In lyric nets cast at a linguistic edge between life and death, land and sea, home and the world, she expresses the pleasure we take in things we do not own. These poems uncover in a catch of breath and heart what it means to hold on – and let go. – Janet Charman
In these poems, although the poet’s craft is everywhere apparent, that distinction seems beside the point – they feel like urgent, personal communications. - Tim Upperton, NZ Listener
Broom uses big things such as the stars (“I am so thin/the stars can see right through me”) and the ocean to navigate lines that shimmer with little explosions of loveliness. - Paula Green, NZ Herald