Phases: New Poetry by Belinda Betker
by Belinda Betker
A collection of poetry from newcomer Belinda Betker, on breaking the bonds of stifling gender roles — and the joyous reclaiming of one’s power and truth.
"Belinda Betker's first collection of poetry, Phases, is a captivating tribute to the lunar and life cycles. Fierce and richly erotic, with acuity and condour, her poems shine a bright light onto an intimate world and burst with power and play. Both lovingly tender and don't-mess-with-me tough, Betker's is an empowering voice." Sandra Ridley, Griffin Prize finalist for Silvija
In Phases, Belinda Betker deftly captures what it is like for those who don’t fit within rigid notions of what it means to be a “boy” or a “girl”. Capturing different phases in a life, with power and nuance she takes readers on a luminous journey of a young girl’s coming-of-age, her burgeoning sexuality (and the confusion and disorientation therein), the pitfalls of an unhappy marriage, the triumphant release of coming out, and the liberating power of drag.
In these poems, readers will find a celestial and transcendent re-discovering of the self, an unraveling of society’s expectations of gender roles, love, and desire and how these falsehoods threaten to eclipse our truth. Phases slides through time, summoning profound memories of the loss of childhood innocence through each gendered ritual, yet the resilient heart of a tomboy who stands up to bullies and can “tie a tie better than anyone” is too powerful to suppress. Betker then takes us into adulthood—an experience cut sharp by the “dark side of the moon” with a health crisis and surgery—and the victorious recovery and unearthing of buried desire and resplendent sensuality. Phases is mercurial and unpredictable, a celebration of the non-conformist in each of us.