Step into Pearl’s world and take a tour around her faded seaside town, past the graffiti walls, bus stops and the old mattress factory. Except – with Pearl as our guide – the colours suddenly pop and every tiny detail becomes rich with interest. From the lido to the hair salon, to the Christmas shop in June, the ordinary becomes magical and every bit of wildness, weirdness and tattiness is whisked into the foreground.
“Pearl” is an alter ego of the poet: she’s a character who observes the minutiae around her and whose thoughts are a pleasure to follow. This pamphlet follows Pearl as she rollicks around, making her way through a townscape similar but not identical to the too-small-to-be-cities of poet Julia Bird’s 70s & 80s childhood.
Praise for is, thinks Pearl
‘A character named Pearl, who like a pearl, is a perfect self-contained sphere of being. Who, like a pearl, is built from layer after layer of experience, rounding her into an acute observing eye. Who, like a pearl, has something gritty at her centre, something that enables her to play – with the inherent absurdity of the daily goings on in a town […] Pearl is a power to disrupt the coatings of ordinariness, showing us its underneath: wildness, weirdness, tattiness… all of which she reforges as perhaps more habitable for herself and for the reader.’ – Sophie Herxheimer, author of Velkom to Inklandt (Short Books, 2017)
‘Roll up, roll up, for this guided tour of a seaside town with the eponymous Pearl as your guide. Part mapping exercise, part biography, these poems will transport you to the apparently familiar land of the lido, library and liquor store before you even notice how the ordinary becomes surreal. […] Watch out! This is poetry, where language is the most alchemical ingredient of all and there’s a surprise around every corner. Alert to the smallest details of this world, alive to its simplest joys where ‘even a pastry / the papers and two cigarettes is a kiss’, Pearl will leave you at the end of your tour feeling well-travelled, well-fed and somewhat astonished.’ – Jacqueline Saphra, author of All My Mad Mothers (Nine Arches, 2017)
‘This is a hard-to-categorise collection – poems, prose poems, tiny gems of memoir. I don’t think it matters – imagine Pearl, the jewel at the centre of each piece as the perfect flaneuse – taking you by the hand and opening up the marvellous, the mysterious and the beautiful within the humdrum. Julia Bird’s powers of observation are razor-sharp; these pieces read like perfect icons where every detail is imbued with leaf gold.’ – Cathi Rae, Everybody’s Reviewing
‘What I enjoy about Bird’s work is her wryness and ability to see the potential for the strange in the ordinary.’ – Kate Noakes, London Grip