Credit: Fang- Wei Lin via Unsplash

Review: Bad Moon

By Esme Orssich

A collection of poetry that whispers truths we are too scared to hear.

What is the effect of distance? When do “they” or “them” become an “us”? 

How are we connected? When does it all stop? These are the questions that Samantha Walton answers in her inquest of ecological destruction in Bad Moon

In her most recent collection of poetry, Walton delivers a haunting inquiry into the death of nature. Using the bad moon as a code for the rising decay of our planet, the poet writes in darkness. She positions a relationship between the “you” and “I”, to enrol responsibility and to engage blame. Through this, she reveals the intimacy of wounds and the delicacy of pain. This poetic assembly investigates who is the dealer of violence and who is the victim. This assembly is composed with an elegy-like message that mimics grief in its anger and utter vulnerability. Her sentences are beautifully harmonised, disguising the threat of shattered eardrums. 

Each poem has its own set of lungs that demands individual air space; however, the collection exhales a united meaning. Walton has refrained from punctuation, capitals and titles; her poems are continuous but separate like human actions against the earth. The flow also imitates water, with Walton pulling out the ‘poison’ that has become its inhabitant. She examines the ripples of infection, with the poison representing the plastics that we have scattered in water, which have resulted in an infected relationship with the earth. 

Although there is an underlying ecological message, the poem deals with other oppositions and brutal truths. She exposes the bravado of masculinity and its hunger for order. Her invocation of the masculine invariably invokes the discussion of femininity and domination, gendering the “you” and “I”, and enrolling a view of subjection and objectification. Walton calls upon her reader to recognise and convict the crimes of patriarchal constructs. 

The poet removes the mask of indifference and ignorance in which we have hidden behind in refuge of our destruction. She writes how we invent new stories to re-enchant the world which we have ruined, forcing ourselves to fall in love with destruction. The imagery Walton uses is devastating, but her genius is showcased in her humble and gentle tone, which slips the violence of responsibility back into our palms so that we feel the ripples of our actions. Walton thread links “them” to “us”, giving authority back, so we are individually united. She tells of the humiliation which we have dealt to ourselves, imploring change. This collection is an honest and delicate read that commands culpability and redemption; it exposes how our ignorant clumsiness must be remedied before the final bad moon rises.


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