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Poetic justice: the rise of brilliant women writing in dark times | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Millions are turning to poetry in response to a year of troubling news stories – with previously excluded voices in the field now going viral

“Hera Lindsay Bird has attracted the biggest hoo-ha with a poetry book I can recall,” wrote one reviewer of the New Zealand-born poet, whose recently released debut collection has become a cult bestseller in her home country. And rightly so: Bird’s frank, outrageous writing – see, for example “Keats is Dead so Fuck Me From Behind” – is in turns bleakly hilarious and peppered with pitch-perfect similes (“the days burn off like leopard print”; “Love like Windows 95”). It has made me, like many others, more excited about poetry than I have been in a long time.

She may be half a world away, but her voice seems to speak to women of my generation regardless of geography. “I love it when people who don’t usually like poetry like my poetry,” she told an interviewer recently. “It’s a mean joke, like tricking someone into joining an improv troupe.” One poem, entitled Monica after the character from the 90s sitcom Friends, has been so popular that the website that published it, The Spinoff, received more hits than it has had in its history.

So relevant and so real.

"what the cicada said to the brown boy" x @ClintSmithIIIpic.twitter.com/pEgqXIklgW

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