There is something deliciously startling about Lauren Pope’s poetry infused by a strong female dynamic. Edgy and entertaining, Always Erase, deals with difficult subjects but with such spirit and seeming insouciance that the reader, on the turn of a phrase, finds empathy break into laughter. Feisty, fierce, and funny, Pope knows how to work form to the max, from sestinas to erasures, to explore complex familial relationships, eating disorders, miscarriage, and identity crises. At times experimental, at times elusive, these poems do not want to be pinned to the page and the use of white space as an avenue of escape and divergence from the poet’s own authorial control is masterful. Cultural references, both high and low, reveal a hungry intelligence stimulated by diverse locations and experiences that feed poetry, simultaneously disturbing and delightful. – Lisa Kelly
Pope’s collection deftly grapples with loss, erasure and invisibility. There are shadows everywhere and the act of naming is problematic yet illusive. Pope’s vivacious language and imagery, combined with caustic and ironic voice delightfully destabilises the reader. Yet there is such deft linguistic flare and melancholic wit, enabling a disarmingly honest interrogation of memory and emotional terrain that is both compelling and devastating. – Malika Booker
This is a firecracker of a debut collection! The poems are frank, conceptually bold, and combine an exacting eye for detail with linguistic precision. Above all, the razor-sharp observations of beauty and pain – many of the poems actually made me ache with the truth of them – are leavened by Lauren Pope's wicked sense of humour. Stunning. – Jane McKie
Always Erase by Lauren Pope (ISBN: 9781915108005)
Girl with the shaved crotch:
breathy and fuchsia-cheeked,
hot-house head of flowers and fruits
nestled into a plaited crown
the colour of a Bavarian pretzel.
Why, now that she has my face,
can you not recognise me as the Olympia
of the produce aisle?
Is it that I’ve spent a lifetime
rethinking my midriff in your name
or wondering whether my tits speak
the language of perfect clip?
If my behaviour’s au courant?
I’ve been sliced bread
in the name of perfection, a closed door,
a severed stem; in the name of perfection
I allowed silence, mistook it
for perfection; I’ve become the doll
inside the doll inside for you.
There are times I want to claw
my image on your bicep, there,
where we can both see it –
in ink as black as rage
cloaked in calm.
Where we can really see it.
Lauren Pope was raised in Los Angeles and lives in Edinburgh. She runs courses in Creative Writing, British Literature and Contemporary British Theatre and Performance at the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School (SUISS). Her poetry pamphlet, Announce This (Templar Poetry), was shortlisted for the 2018 Callum Macdonald Memorial Awards. She is a 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize finalist, and winner of the 2021 Brotherton Poetry Prize.
Always Erase is Lauren's first full collection.
Date of Publication - 19 January 2022