It gives me great pleasure to be returning to poetry here on Linda’s Book Bag today, especially as all the profits from Persona Non Grata edited by Isabelle Kenyon will go to Shelter and Crisis Aid UK.
Isabelle has featured here on the blog before when I reviewed her own poetry collection This Is Not A Spectacle here, and another charity collection supporting Mind from Fly on the Wall, Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, here.
Persona Non Grata is available for purchase here.
Person Non Grata
With the global refugee crises being very much in the media at present, it is timely that a collection of poems should be published, which goes to the heart of how it feels to be displaced from society. Inspired by the concept of social exclusion, the collection, Persona Non Grata, which features exceptional poets across the globe, explores themes including homelessness, loneliness and mental health.
All profits from the book will be donated to Shelter and Crisis Aid UK. Isabelle, who is the editor of small press, Fly on the Wall Poetry, hopes that with the support of her readers, and the 45 poets involved in the anthology, she will raise an incredible amount for charity, providing support and advice for anyone who finds themselves homeless.
Isabelle said, “I am thrilled and proud to have edited and compiled this anthology to raise money for charity. This has been a brave, yet thrilling project which aims to give a voice to those who feel alienated from society for whatever reason. Reading the work of so many talented poets and being granted access to their inner thoughts, has been a great privilege. Knowing that the money we raise will be used to improve the lives of those who find themselves displaced, throughout the UK, is humbling.”
Shelter commented: “We are delighted that ‘Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes charitable anthologies – and anthology ‘Persona Non Grata’ is packed with poetry inspired by the concept of social exclusion. Without support such as this we would not be able to support the people who reach out to us for help with housing issues and homelessness. Thank you so much to everyone involved.” – Lindsay Tilston Jones, Regional Community Fundraiser: Manchester.
This book is the second anthology published by the press, which was awarded ‘Runner Up for Best Anthology’ at the prestigious Saboteur Awards this May. Both books are available to buy through http://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk in both in paperback and Kindle formats, worldwide.
To support Isabelle’s charity book release, please visit www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk.
My Review of Persona Non Grata
55 poems divided into seven sections on the theme of being ‘outside’ society.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous anthologies written and edited by Isabelle Kenyon that I have read, but I think Persona Non Grata is the best yet. There is such a wealth of literary talent in these poems, aside from the very strong messages the words contain.
And the messages and themes in Persona Non Grata are strong, deserving to be heard. There’s everything from sexuality to homelessness, immigration to abuse so that I was very moved by the writing and actually I felt very uncomfortable at times too. The contrast between the bright lights and consumerism against the empty wallet of the man in Forgotten Hero, for example, made me question whether I would have noticed such a man on the bus – or indeed, done anything to help him. I will return to Persona Non Grata many times as every time I read a poem again I find something new – a nuance, a carefully placed line break, a single syllable – that adds depth and emotion. There’s a perfect balance of important themes and excellent writing in this anthology.
As well as appreciating the quality and messages of the poems, I found the biographies at the end of the anthology fascinating. The poets are of all ages, ethnicities and geographical locations which added to the feeling of authenticity for me. Reading Persona Non Grata introduced me to new authors that I want to find out more about.
I can heartily recommend Persona Non Grata. It is moving and accessible, well written and important. Reading these poems made me glad to be me and encouraged me to count my blessings. In the words of the final poem in the anthology, when it comes to Persona Non Grata, ‘Let’s celebrate’!
About Isabelle Kenyon
Isabelle Kenyon is a poet, blogger and book reviewer. Her poems have published online for Bewildering Stories and as a Micro Chapbook for Origami Poetry Press. Isabelle has also featured in poetry anthologies such as Anti Heroin Chic, Literary Yard, the Inkyneedles anthology, Poetry Rivals, and the Great British Write Off. Isabelle has won awards and commendations from The Wirral festival of Music, Speech and Drama,the Festival of Firsts, the Langwith Scott Award for Art and Drama and the Visit Newark Poetry competition.