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This review is taken from PN Review 230, Volume 42 Number 6, July - August 2016.

Cover of Forgive the Language
Valerie Duff-StrautmannThis is My Letter to the World

Katy Evans-Bush
Forgive the Language
Penned in the Margins, 2015
The key to good blog readership is continual publication of work that reads conversationally to a general reader, and when Katy Evans-Bush blogs about ‘poetry, arts & culture’ (routinely on Baroque in Hackney since 2006), she works in that world of direct transfer. In the ether, her material is largely unedited, in the sense of having a disinterested third party who shapes it for publication. This puts Forgive the Language, her new book of essays, in a category that feels somewhat new (the way collecting private letters for publication at one time was new). These are not essays in the formal sense, nor are they book reviews, nor are they letters in a formal sense, either, but posts that seem to sense their limitless freedom.

But when the expanding and ever-shifting interests of blog writings coalesce into a unit (book), there’s a certain disjunction. On the page, one wants to tease out threads from the vast picking and choosing and stumbling upon that happens in the web’s endless continuum. The package in hand begins to resemble an anthology of an era’s greatest hits with the inevita-ble sorting through and asking what it culminates into.

Evans-Bush’s advantage is her consistently engag-ing voice, which never flags as the conversation twists and turns. In her essay about Dylan Thomas, she remembers her adolescent attraction to Thomas’s writing, but when considering his staying power, she writes of the nuances of his Welsh background:
 

You don’t need to speak a language to be influenced by it, ...


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