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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Mythical poetry: Spotlight on Sarah Wallis

We had the pleasure of publishing Sarah Wallis' chapbook, Medusa Retold in December 2020.

A feminist retelling of the Medusa myth, set in a run-down, modern seaside town, Medusa Retold is filled with the magic and fury of the original tale. In this telling, loner Nuala is difficult and introverted, fascinated by creatures of the sea. Athena becomes her best friend and first crush, and together they form a duo which is ripped apart by circumstance, leaving Nuala unprotected, unable to save herself. A long-form poem of poignant motifs which recur throughout, the poem is a mythic puzzle, an epic for ordinary girls, and a love letter to the sea.

We caught up with Sarah to see what she had been working on recently - and it turns out, she's been very busy!

My Sister the Mermaid (published by Beir Bua Journal)
Sample -

A troca shell is a cone shaped marvel, once

a mermaid’s purse, this shell of other life, a silenced

flute or lyre, has been a companion piece of mine

since I was four, a sometime shiny dragon’s tooth

I Spy the Fisher King (published by The Madrigal)
Sample -

As the sapphire flies with borrowed

diamond light

the halcyon king flies low and early

over the break of water

celebrates his fish haul, a mechanical

laughter rattles in his throat,

the black eye calculates distance, splash

and energy to dive

the singular flash of sunset bell,

Other recent publications -

Haibun for a Missing Tree at Punk Noir - weaves in the Daphne myth as well as the madness of wanton eco destruction -

Our Lady of the Tigers Twists Her Strands of Gold Green Ink Poetry Jan 2022 -

Sarah Wallis is a poet and playwright based in Scotland, UK. In the last year work has appeared at Trampset, Lunate, Abridged and Finished Creatures, with recent work at Coffin Bell and One Art. A chapbook, Medusa Retold, is available from @fly_press and she tweets @wordweave.

More about Medusa Retold:

"Sarah Wallis is a very fine poet and storyteller. She deftly re-inhabits the Medusa myth, losing none of the magic and mystery and yet giving it a contemporary and affecting resonance. She salutes the ancient gods, particularly Athena but also deals with 21st century questions of identity and gender. A miniature epic full of wonderful writing."

  • James Nash, poet, recent collections, "Some Things Matter: 63 Sonnets "(2012); "A Bench for Billie Holiday" (2018), both from Valley Press.

“A wild and writhing reimagination of the Medusa myth for the modern age. Mesmerising. Compelling.”

  • Tanya Shadrick, editor of Wild Woman Swimming.

“In this vivid retelling of the well-known Greek myth, Wallis captures Medusa’s spirit of fury borne of oppression and shapes it into a contemporary story of female rage. Medusa Retold is gripping, raw and essential reading for the modern-day feminist.”-

  • JL Corbett, editor Idle Ink

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