Review* of ‘Imperfect Beginnings’ by Viv Fogel

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

At a time when the discourse surrounding asylum-seeking, refugees and migration has become contentious, having been hijacked by nationalists and populist politicians, Viv Fogel’s Imperfect Beginnings is very welcome. Informed by her personal and professional experiences her collection gives a voice to the exiled and displaced. Though her poems are uncompromising in their exploration of their ordeals, these poems are ultimately about survival and repair, and the collection ends on a note of hope.

Imperfect Beginnings (Fly on the Wall Press, 2023) is split into five sections. The first two deal with the nature and effects of exile. The opening poem with that name allows us to experience directly the trauma and frustrations of displacement. Written in the first person, Vogel puts us in the place of a refugee and enables us to imagine: the sudden shock of separation (‘For one precious moment/ you were my whole world/ safe     holding…

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