Scarlet Shadows by Scylla Grand is a short yet powerful collection, carefully curated to reveal a journey of turmoil and lingering hope. Grand’s style reminds me of Wendy Cope, Emily Dickinson or Sylvia Plath, as she blends the straightforward with the whimsical.
The collection is divided into three parts: Invisible, Inertia and Cold. At first, it takes time to settle into Grand’s style as her pieces move in a disjointed way between rhyme, half rhyme and no rhyme, but by the end of Invisible, and after reading ‘Fury’, you are soon awed by Grand’s poetic sensibilities. Inertia was my favourite section – each piece deserving of being the entire collection’s crowning glory, with ‘Unoccupied’ and ‘Ignorance’ being particular favourites. Cold ends the collection with glimpses and small promises of hope; most notably appearing in ‘Webs and Blooms’.
Scarlet Shadows is the first poetry collection I have read this year and it did not disappoint in the slightest. I admire Grand’s skill when it comes to saying nothing more yet nothing less. Each poem provides a point of reflection for the reader; allowing them to take from it what they will without impeding on the poet’s original desire to be heard, to tumble feelings onto a page and pull them into pieces of art or a mirror image of what life was like in the singular moment the poet began to write.
Grand’s work is impressive and reminiscent of female poets who have since faded into the background. I hope Scarlet Shadows is just the beginning of a return to a poetic style greatly cherished.