Poetry Shelf review: Jamie Trower’s Anatomy – it is poetry as reboot

Anatomy-front-cover-final-183x300   Anatomy-front-cover-final-183x300

Jamie Trower  Anatomy   Mākaro Press 2015


At the age of nine, Jamie Trower suffered a traumatic head injury when skiing on the slopes of Ruapehu. After months in a coma, he spent two years at the Wilson Centre in Auckland. Jamie is currently based in Auckland where he is studying English and Drama at the University of Auckland. Anatomy is his debut poetry collection.

Anatomy rebuilds anatomy. The word ‘disability’ (disabled, disable, disablement) is like a shadow protagonist that Jamie pitches against and from. It felt like a physical presence, an entity to interrogate as Jamie navigates his recovery paths. To read our way into and out of ‘disability’ is to thwart ‘unable’ and latch upon ‘enable.’ It is to follow Jamie from the accident and rocks to his cloud nine.

I felt a little nervous opening the book, as in the middle of my PhD, I smashed into a glass door and suffered the effects of post-concussion syndrome for about a year. Everything was thrown in the air as I struggled to make sense of the world let alone my academic research. My ability to speak and write and c0mprehend (and hang out the washing, cook dinner) was utterly compromised. Once I started reading Anatomy, the twitchiness at revisiting the memory of my vulnerable head faded.

This book is poetry as record, it is poetry as reboot and poetry as rehabilitation. Writing becomes a way of refurbishing self and moving through. You are carried along by the fluency of the line, so lyrically, yet there is the white space of hiccup. Some words are stretched out as though we say them slowly ( d i s a b i l i t y,   t h i n g). Some words drop down the page like a teetering step ladder to cloud nine or back down to earth. The poetic choices heighten the struggle to recover, and to face what recovery means.

This is a poetry collection that moves and elevates you, that records a devastating experience at the most personal of levels, and that plays with what words can do (from the first clacks and clatters on the old typewriter he was given by his teacher). Wonderful!


from ‘( m a y b e ,   t o m o r r o w )’


m i g h t


from teenage boy


n a p p y      &      pacifier,


to a mighty sea bird –

to a juvenile juggernaut

– dancing

in the wild …


to whistle

in rainbows

of thistles,

(ocean spray) …


Mākaro Press page


1 thought on “Poetry Shelf review: Jamie Trower’s Anatomy – it is poetry as reboot

  1. Pingback: Poetry Shelf Invitations Interviews – Mary McCallum interviews Jamie Trower | NZ Poetry Shelf

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