Published by Faber, 2019
Julia Copus’s exhilarating new collection, Girlhood, is a book of transgressed boundaries and seductive veneers. Restlessly inquisitive, it exposes the shifting power balance between things on the verge of becoming and the forces that threaten to destroy them.
Reading these poems, we have the sense of encountering a series of filmic installations arranged by episode in a gallery. Lost, censored or disparaged voices speak out from secluded spaces and moments of hidden history. Girlhood concludes with a sequence set in a psychiatric hospital that reimagines Jacques Lacan’s treatment of his most famous case study, Marguerite Pantaine.
Julia Copus’s poems are acts of resistance. The material tests its own boundaries to become something new. She is not limited to – or by – personal experience. One of the many pleasures of this phenomenal collection is that you cannot predict the varied ways in which these poems will fly.
Copus’s poems have the ability to lodge themselves forever in the reader’s head rendering each poem an immersive experience from which we return changed and shaken.
If feminism were always so beautifully done it might persuade more of the many still unreconstructed among the male gender.