In this, her third collection of poetry, Phillippa Yaa De Villiers invokes images of past and present with hypnotic clarity, summoning the heart and heat of memory – painful and happy alike – with the distinct musicality and visceral punch she is known for. Some poems invite contemplation. Question and provoke. Others are elegiac, moments for reverence in a rich, diverse collection that both spans decades and pauses to revel in the intensity and beauty of a single moment. In liquid form that incorporates prose and poetry, De Villiers fearlessly confronts and disrupts, dipping into a well spring of images that are euphoric and horrifying. At once prophetic and playful, ice cream headache in my bone is an exploration and celebration of language, a definitive collection that yields and responds, burns and soothes, all the while, calling to a longing for truth, and a tongue not tempered by oppression or pain.
ice-cream headache in my bone
Phillippa Yaa De Villiers
In this, her third collection of poetry, Phillippa Yaa De Villiers invokes images of past and present with hypnotic clarity, summoning the heart and heat of memory – painful and happy alike – with the distinct musicality and visceral punch she is known for.
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Uncommonly well-structured poems – mixing verse and prose, pushing the boundaries of form – which which resonate with lives of their own. These are not poems to read in a rush. One needs to sit down and enjoy them or else you will end up missing the cream of the poems.
The poetry of Yaa De Villiers invites you watch her wrestle with the inverses and anti-climaxes of life and her enchanted embrace of its harmonies and ecstasies.
Yaa is vulnerable and insecure and figuring things out. Her collection is filled with grappling and contradiction, making her accessible. Touchable. Even her adventurous use of form, particularly in “What I found” and “Horse” reveal a womxn who lives inside, on and outside the colouring lines. The vacillation between lyrical and narrative poetry, and prose adds to the experience of living in Yaa’s skin. This collection is not all blood and skin, however. “Tongue” registers as a familiar charming post ’94 sitcom, and “Elegy for jazz” is as musical live – alongside bass and keys – as it is on page. At times her voice is out of tune and off beat, but always honest.
“There is a pervasive energy and diversity of form, subject, and style in Yaa De Villiers’s volume, a multiplicity of emotional threads woven through a wide range of subjects… Culmulativley, they epitomise the fullness, range, and intricacy of the poets life.”