The Animals in Us: a review of Humanagerie by Sarah James

January 11, 2019 sarahjameswrites

The Poetry Shed

cover_humanagerie_thHumanagerie, An anthology of poetry and short fiction edited by Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley. Eibonvale Press, 2018.

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As the title Humanagerie might suggest, this anthology has aspects of ‘menagerie’, a collection of wild animals/humans kept in captivity for exhibition. The first poem ‘Animal Apology’ by Paul Stephenson opens with ‘Sorry if I fling zoos at you…’ The poem, like others here, brims with vibrant imagery and striking metaphor. This includes ‘lobbed elephants swirl | through the living-room’s low-watt sky, Zeppelins deflating,’ and ends with a fabulous twist.

This anthology isn’t just zoo or exhibition though, in fact, far from it. There are also many elements of an ark about it: quieter poems in reverence, wonder and protection of various animals, and the gentler animalistic qualities that humans share with creatures, as in the second poem, Elaine Ewart’s beautiful ‘Beginnings’.

Likewise with the short fiction. In the first…

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