K D Halliwell
The ambiguously titled Love Bites is the debut offering from K D Halliwell, a Milton Keynes based author who describes the collection as a document of her twenties. Original and with a format that stands out from the ordinary, it is proving particularly well-received by those who “don’t normally like poetry”. Originally written by hand, the author has traversed a fine line between traditional academic forms and in ensuring the book is accessible to anybody who wants to read it, aided by study notes, personalness and humour within. You cannot read this book without getting a sense that you and the author have just spent an evening in the pub; it is a very human book. The inclusion of holiday photographs, a detailed dedication and the author’s introduction make it clear from the outset that Love Bites is about allowing the reader to get to know the author as a key part of the reading process rather than as an addition. As Halliwell states in her philosophy later in the book, when a writer shares their work a unique relationship is formed between reader and writer that allows them to connect without ever having met, sometimes across time or distance. All poems were written in bedrooms, bars and cafes and are based upon the author’s experiences, from arguing couples in piazzas to her own relationships and efforts to make sense of life. This book is not just a book of poetry but a journey with the author. Within it, many relatable emotions are explored, particularly along the theme of love, but also of depression and melancholy; as you read you get a sense that you are exploring both your own mind whilst also walking both within and alongside the author. Love Bites has been described as philosophical, candid and raw, with a refreshing honesty. Whereas some poetry books focus on the craft of writing, acting as teaching aids, Halliwell has included a glossary and analytical notes only to add context to the reading of the works. Referring to composing rather than writing, the focus of Love Bites is on the arts, expression and engagement being complimented by technical competency. With accessibility and people at its core, the book speaks to readers through shared human experiences, almost acting as the companion it had been to Halliwell during her travels. In this respect it is a common denominator between author and reader. Divided into four themes - love, writing, nature and society, and travels - the book covers a variety of literary styles encompassing short metaphorical observations, both open and closed form and storytelling epics that encourage engagement with a character or setting. From the mischievous humour of ‘Wand’ and ‘Happy Days’ to the technical structures of ‘Commandment’ and ‘The Craft’ there is something for everyone in Love Bites.