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A Birthday Card in May is a beautifully structured debut poetry anthology, written by a local University of Pretoria student, Caitlin Tallack. It is a collection that has been created by discipline and creativity alike. The poetry expresses the duality of being, combined with the complexity and rawness of feeling.

Many humans experience the same emotions, and the collection encapsulates how all humans feel these emotions but experience them differently. The universality of this anthology is what makes this collection so relatable. Some experiences of love may be so familiar to the reader, but themes of hurt or loss may be completely foreign.

The anthology is self-published, and is thus laced with the intimacy of connecting with the audience. Each chapter of the book represents a month of the year, and each month brings about a new experience. Some months, such as January, are light-hearted and free, as a joyful expression of the newness of the year. Other months, such as July, are slightly more sombre, as they represent the fatigue people often feel around this time of the year. This cycle of highs and lows gives an unfiltered look into the emotions of the human experience. Motifs of love, loss, acceptance  nd expression spill across the pages, and are accompanied by visuals that complement the flow of the poems.

These visuals are a unique component of the anthology, as the images chosen to represent certain poems guide you in the direction of the author’s intent. The style of the writing is simple,  expressive and emphatic.

The raw nature of the poetry stems from the succinct way in which the poet uses words to directly communicate the experience behind the poem. Whether you are interested in this anthology for a light-read or for a heartfelt experience, the presentation of the poems and the ease of expression will make your poetry experience worthwhile.

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My name is Ashleigh Pascoe and I am doing my Honours in Publishing. This is my fourth year studying at UP. I would describe myself as a bubbly extrovert with a passion for written work and writing!