Full of Matches, by Ash Durrance-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

Full of Matches, by Ash Durrance

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Ash Durrance
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Poetry, chapbook, 24 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

Myth and heartache, rue and devotion: Ash Durrance has woven the story of Hades and Persephone between poems of loss and heartbreak by using the Underworld as an apt metaphor for the aching darkness that comes with sexual trauma. In this book are poems of love lost and love won; the book opens with the end of an engagement and ends with the re-discovery of the speaker’s self. This poet does not shy away from baring herself to the page and, as her persona writes in “Love,” opening “[her] own ribcage / wider.” Although these poems are rife with melancholy, they still manage to shine and spark, each poem a lit match in the dark.

These are sad poems, and Ash herself is aware of that. But there is redemption and there is celebration, too. The speaker in these poems is shedding, remodeling, coming alive again with her bare chest to the full moon.

What do we do with trauma and its scored body? Read the poem “Devil,” read the poem “Love.” What do we do with men and, more importantly, the men we somehow still love even after they’ve reamed and ruined us? Read “Affair” and “Cerberus” and “Looking Glass.” In these poems, Ash Durrance struggles to answer these questions for herself, her speaker, and her reader. Reading Full of Matches may cause you to ache and mourn, but by the end the “daffodils [will] gather” and Spring will ‘knock’ and everything you once knew about yourself will dissolve (maybe), be reborn (probably), and rise up to the sky, shining (absolutely).

These are the poems one reads with girl dinner, the soundtrack of the musical Hadestown, a Zoloft pill bottle, and a bowl full of cherry pits.

Ash was raised in the uppermost region of the Everglades and so holds a deep love for the creatures, like her, that swamp gives life to. After earning an MA in English from Auburn University, she earned an MFA in Poetry from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Her poems have been featured in Academy of American Poets, Epiphany Mag, Nat Brut, Locust Review, and more. In addition to poetry, Ash illustrates freelance projects and writes comics about her body, ceasing fire in Gaza, and plenty more.