Erin Shiel’s debut collection brings together insightful vignettes about the arc of maturity to womanhood, exploring kindness, grief and the neglected beauty of everyday life. The collection slips through multiple identities, interleaving ekphrasis with lyric and nature poems. The effect is a dynamic tension between fiction and truth, invention and autobiography. Many of the poems reclaim the liminality of girlhood, as an opportunity to form identity.. With whimsy and playfulness, emotional insight and nuance, Girl on a Corrugated Roof uses empathy and the natural environment to draw art out of the gallery and into our everyday lives.
“This is a most impressive debut collection. The poems are varied, surprising, and dexterous, they choreograph language into disarming spaces surveying time and place, the domestic and the artistic with sparkling intensity. Shiel’s poems are kinetic, buoyant, and skilfully nuanced. This book has developed out of emotional and investigative necessities, that rich wellspring from which the best and most memorable poetry flows.”
Like all the best debut collections, Girl on a Corrugated Roof contains years of distilled wisdom – a concentrate of the thoughts, events, tribulations and joys that form the unique subjectivity Erin Shiel’s work now possesses. It’s a hymn to girlhood: that much maligned, often ignored, objectified and, these days, contested human state. The poems are thoughtful, generous and seek to connect with a broad readership. I feel fortunate to have read this book.