Kindred is the first published poetry collection by Kirli Saunders. At the absolute least of all this collection has a stunning cover that immediately made me want to read it. Most importantly what I found was so much beauty in between the pages. I think it is difficult to review poetry with it’s unique form and way of touching the readers but I do have to say I immediately connected with the prose within. I found myself falling into these pages, captivated from the moment I picked it up I greedily consumed pages and pages of it at a time and I know I’ll return to it again and again in the future. What I loved about this collection was how accessible it felt for poetry and if you are someone who doesn’t read this form much or know where to start, Kindred should be the top of your list.
I’m going to be a little lazy here and quote Alison Whittaker as all I would be doing is clumsily paraphrasing her words, a pale imitation that doesn’t give this collection the eloquence it deserves. Whittaker describes Kindred as “didactic in the best of ways – mob might take Kindred to be an instruction manual for remembering something just out of grasp in a colonised frame. Just don’t mistake it’s tenderness for gentleness. Kirli is fierce in her protection of kin and love.” Saunders is a First Nations voice you should get to know. I think it’s important we foster these minority voices who are the traditional custodians of this stolen land but even more the depth and beauty of this work deserves every bit of exposure and praise. I expect Saunders will have much more to say in the years to come and I am already eagerly anticipating more.