Ynygordna by Kelly Williams

V. Press, 2020    £6.50

Contrasting for emphasis

This is a brave, fierce collection of ‘warrior’ poems. Its pages filled with a rainbow of emotions, Ynygordna (‘androgyny’ spelt backwards) explores ‘gender, sexuality and love within and against societal expectations', says the V. Press website. The juxtaposition of hate and anger with the safety of pure, fluid love, is what sustains this work: I felt the contrast drew me in, and amplified the anguish communicated through the poems.

The shocking language used is not for wimps. In ‘getting over it’, Williams writes:

un-fucking-believable. wormed into by a psycho.
creamed in me as if I asked for it.

This image is both disturbing and brilliant. The poet swears for emphasis to highlight her shocking treatment, and the discrimination faced by the non-binary, as shown in ‘to all the greasy men in bushwackers’:

What are you going to do, spike my drink now?
Call me a fucking lezza?


Lesbians do not want to make out for you.
Your dick is the last thing on my mind as I

fuck ver and not you

(Note, the poet uses ‘ve’ and ‘ver’ extensively throughout this collection as a third gender pronoun.)

But the aggression is tempered with poems like ‘often’, which is warm and sensual:

as ve winds in ribboned lust around me
making nests in the fleshy heart in my chest
sewing up dead chambers made dormant by past lovers

Here, the healing process is vividly described, as in ‘find us your biggest mugs, we’ll be here a while’ where the tenderness of love is beautifully described, with a wonderful repetition of ‘s’ sounds:

butter sleeps between two slices
of toast

as we lick up the precious moments
of nothing much

There is much that is strong and powerful in Ynygordna, which explores many contrasts, not just between love and hate, but also the battle between persecution and acceptance — ignorance and understanding.

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