Charlotte Gann studied English, then worked as a magazine editor for some years (Which? and Health Which?). In her mid-30s, she went freelance, and had children. She also started writing poetry, working through magazine publication and a first pamphlet (The Long Woman from Pighog) to a first collection: Noir.
It is an unusual book. Structure and detail are filmic. It can be read (though there are many ways) from beginning to end, like a novel. Characters and narratives form connections through recurring motifs—windows, lamps, water, telephones, scissors. Something terrible and dangerous and real is happening. But the poems truthfully and compassionately confront manipulation, vulnerability and damage.
In the end, the darkness must give way.
The Black Water
is lapping at your cup and saucer.
Do you really not see it? Ink sloshing
against fine-rimmed china.
My eyes are on your kindness, on
a vase of sweet peas in your alcove.
Quiet standard lamp by pale-blue armchair
casting its aura. But I can’t not see
the cold dark water, can’t not feel its oil
seep up through my boyfriend’s jumper.
You pass a plate of small pink cakes
even as the black sea licks bookshelves,
light-shades, even as I hoist my body
out of this chair—toppling the delicate
oval table—back away across worn
grey carpet. Grope for the door.