Julie Anderson's Secrets And Lies - A Review by AHP Assistant Editor Amanda McLeod

Our Featured Artist, Julie Anderson, released her debut poetry collection Secrets And Lies in February 2019. You can order a copy here.

Our Assistant Editor, Amanda McLeod, shares her thoughts on Julie's book:

Julie Anderson’s debut poetry collection is comprehensive and powerful, with a strong voice that speaks to women about the uncomfortable truths that are layered throughout their lives. She holds nothing back; the reader is transported into her world and shown the entire picture, the dizzying heights, the glossy veneer, and the undercurrents of darkness  swirling beneath. Sometimes subtle, sometimes a gut punch, she bravely exposes all the facets of herself without looking away. The result is a frank, brutal, and stunning collection.

Anderson digs deep, sharing her life in an authentic way that acknowledges both the beauty and the horror. The book rollercoasters through trauma and triumph; through the darkness, into the light, and back again. Sucker Punch is a heartfelt glance back at loss; Mama is a nod to the cyclical nature of abuse; Off sees the rose coloured glasses removed and events from the past viewed in the harsh light of the present. To share such confronting memories, the journey through them and the ongoing process of recovery must surely take a huge amount of courage. A brief scan through the catalogue of Anderson's achievements, and the adversity she's overcome to get to where she is now, and it's clear she has courage in spades.

The power in Anderson's telling of her story through poetry is evident throughout the collection. But it is in the final prose poem, After The Breakdown, she acknowledges the transformative nature of everything she endured, and how through all the darkness she finally lit a match, which sparked the fire within her. It's a magnificent call to arms for anyone who has found themselves compressed - there is freedom in the release. If you've struggled with trauma, abuse, depression, or self-loathing, Anderson's narrative shows you life is waiting for you; and that recovery, while far from easy, is both possible and worth the effort.