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  • Writer's pictureSarah Jane Justice

Review: 'Love songs & Naughty bits' by Deb Stewart

'Love songs & Naughty bits' is a poetry chapbook by Adelaide author Deb Stewart, published by Ginninderra Press. I was honoured to act as MC at the book launch, where I read the following review.

I could compare this book to a good long-term relationship.

It is filled with little poems, little stories, little instances, that all describe different kinds of pleasure, through a range of styles and approaches. We walk through contented outings at the Botanic Gardens, through the smoke of a lover’s ashtray, and into the steam of an active bedroom. And, like a good long-term relationship, all these little instances can be enjoyed on their own, but they also link together across pages, winking at each other with sly references and continuity.

The passionate imagery of ‘Want’ naturally spreads across the page to the immersive storytelling of ‘an asthmatic in love’. From that suggestion of a story, we can then see it filtering into as many of the other poems as we see fit.

A highlight for me was ‘We Just Click’, describing the peaceful, quiet contentment that can be found in love in a digital age. In contrast, there is the short, simple sexiness of poems such as ‘Orange’ which I would describe as far longer than its eight written lines because of how long it stayed with me after I finished reading it.

This book is full of writing that evokes sensuality not just in the imagery depicted but in the sounds of the words themselves, through consonants, and cadence, and assonance rubbing up against each other.

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