Alarum Within

Alarum Within

ISBN: 9780888012791
Author: Kimmy Beach

A theatre audience sees only the drama and meaning of the performance on stage. The narrator of Kimmy Beach's second poetry collection Alarum Within, has a different tale to tell - not only of backstage encounters with overwrought set designers and pushy stage mothers at a small college theatre, but of illness, addiction, and identity.

Alarum Within begins with a call for actors and builds to the narrator's mid-career struggle with viral encephalitis. Feverish, hallucinating, and unable to recognize even her husband, she is hospitalized. As she slips in and out of consciousness, Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and the Christian mystics Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen appear to the narrator to guide her back to health. She recovers, but finds herself suffering migraines and coping with both memory and hearing loss.

Over a decade in the writing, these poems reveal Beach's fearless candour, tenderness, humour, and her eye for small shining details. She populates the poems with familiar - including Mr. Dressup and Lady Macbeth - yet it is one woman's behind-the-scenes grit that gives Alarum Within its grace and power.

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