This is the story of the Girl who has a hard time as she is growing up and she develops a fear of books: bibliophobia. The Girl’s story is told by Phobia, who is the phobia, so it is Phobia who speaks, except for a bit near the beginning where the wicked witch of a grandmother, who’s also in the story, speaks for herself.
Jane Kite has created a contemporary take on the fairy tale: it is rich and haunting, conjuring the shadows in the corners and the constant feeling of helplessness you can’t shake from childhood going into adulthood. Prickling with texture and rhythm, this is an epic poem to be enjoyed in performance and on the page.
Matthew Hedley Stoppard
Phobia is one of the most extraordinary, powerful poetry sequences I’ve ever read. Beautiful, spare word-music propels a broken narrative of trauma and strength. What happens when complex family imperatives to express ourselves and to hide ourselves are opposed? Giving voice to the book-phobia itself is a resonant move in these times when all kinds of “knowing” are under threat. These poems remake one woman’s way of knowing and unknowing the world, and challenge an audience/reader’s worldview in the process.