Review: baby, sweetheart, honey | Emily Perkovich

It felt fitting to finish reading baby, sweetheart, honey, and review it, while still in the bath, having crushed a pink bath bomb in my left fist. It felt apt in order to relish Perkovich’s unrivalled ability to portray viscera and memory as the truth – the truth that every human being hangs by silken string between birth and death. Spider silk is one of the strongest substances, yet easily caught in a ray of sunlight and broken by a hand.

This collection is by far Perkovich’s best; within these poems is a confidence and mastery palpable in Explusion, growing in Godshots Wanted, and now fiercely recognisable as Perkovich’s voice. A voice which takes from trauma, from depression, from hardship, as well as from softness, motherhood and the body.

With each piece, the speaker, the poet, and the reader are exposed to an underbelly and to a sky we can all find words we know, love and hate within. There are people in this collection I knew too. There are children I will not have. There are experiences so close my skin pimples to gooseflesh, while others appear as phantoms in the room. Perkovich harnesses light and dark, sex and love, objectification and promiscuity, autonomy and loss of freedom, superbly.

There is no hiding in this collection and so it felt fitting to be naked upon its end; to be as vulnerable, as raw and as stained pink as the words and stories in baby, sweetheart, honey — to be unburdened in its magnificence.

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