Poetry Shelf poets on poems: Rachel Lockwood on essa may ranapiri’s ‘she cut her face shaving’

NZ Poetry Shelf

                             ‘She Cut Her Face Shaving’ essa may ranapiri

(from ransack, Victoria University Press, 2019)

essa may ranapiri’s work frequently explores the uncomfortable boundaries that exist in binary gender, and uses form and technique to push readers away from conventional approaches to both gender and poetry. Everything in their piece ‘she cut her face shaving’ works to push the reader towards a new space, from the vocabulary and imagery to the way the lines are arranged on the page.

The arrangement of the work on the page exemplifies the subtle ways that ranapiri affects the reader. Rather than proceeding straight down the page, ‘she cut her face shaving’ begins to drift right from the second line. The final shape evokes images that reflect those in the poem – the drip of blood, the curve of a neck- but also reflect a preoccupation with resisting convention. Throughout their collection ransack

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