Review of ‘Ragged Rainbows’ by Julie McNeill

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

You know you’ve enjoyed a poetry pamphlet when you’re left wanting more. That was certainly my experience when I read debut talent, Julie McNeill’s Ragged Rainbows, for this is a compelling, reflective and ultimately optimistic collection of poems that prompts us to consider the challenges faced by the world around us and to think about our response to the issues she explores.

The world in Ragged Rainbows is precarious. It is beset by climate change, which threatens our existence to such an extent that the most the poet can hope for is to ‘leave,/ a smattering of trees,/ a slither of clean air/ and a tiny pocket-full of hope/ for my children.’ (Raising Environmentalists). It is a place where the cost of independence for women is sexual humiliation by misogynistic men, when the exchange for a few ‘coins’ in a fifteen year old girl’s pocket is ‘a friend of…

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