By Susan Bradley SmithPoetry Five Islands Press
Beds For All Who Come
In this inventive collection, Susan Bradley Smith projects herself into the lives of selected famous mothers and daughters: Clementine Churchill and Lady Sarah Audley, Sylvia Plath and Frieda Hughes, Ulrike Meinhof and Bettina Rohl. And in a prologue and coda, she takes Germaine Greer as her subject.
These mother-daughter pairs address each other, intimately, in three separate acts — sharing their inner lives and losses, their experiences with and without each other. The daughters are branded by the toxic personal legacies of their parents, who are all remembered for their central political or cultural significance to the twentieth century.
‘In the verve, charge and spark of these poems, Susan Bradley Smith traces the syllables of lost voices into dramatic spaces of invention,’ says Felicity Plunkett. ‘In their crossings and illuminations they are vibrant and wild in every direction.’
In Beds For All Who Come, Susan Bradley-Smith places a strong and compelling cast of female players on her apocalyptic stage, creating powerful poems and dramatic monologues around their lives and perceptions.
In four acts, Bradley-Smith poetically inhabits women from Baroness Spencer-Churchill to Germaine Greer, and bravely takes on poet Frieda Hughes in the first moments after her mother Sylvia Plath’s mythologised death. Ambitious and compelling, these bold imagined histories will leave readers intrigued.
The Hitler in you, the Hitler in me
“Who is this East-obsessed 26-year-old brat, who can rule out
her own liability and divide the Germans into the good and the
bad?“ Bettina Röhl asks herself, referring to the article entitled,
“Hitler in You”, which her mother Ulrike Meinhof published in 1961.
your mouthpiece was made
of communist concrete: they
funded your magazine, this
we all now know. We know also
that you refused their offer of
refuge come to us come to the
GDR and be our superstar. But
what if you had gone? Imagine
this: you are still alive. The
wall never fell because
you fucked the Stasi stupid,
then sensible, then saved
communism the world
over. Now that would be
the better way to kill the
capitalist bastards. Yes or no?
If you had said no to the Red
Army—the cell that delivered
you a cell that delivered you
to god on the end of a rope—then
all of this would be real. Was.
The good. The bad. Once,
you were all I had. I wish
you’d said yes, no matter
what, to anything else. Most
of all, to me.
The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards shortlist