Friday Poem: ‘My Birth’ by Pascale Petit

Following International Women’s Day earlier this week, today’s Friday Poem is ‘My Birth’ by Pascale Petit from her collection What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo

This cover shows an abstract painting by Frida Kahlo. It appears to show the legs of a woman in the bath but other surreal images, such as a volcano, also fill the water. The text reads: What the Water Gave Me: Poems After Frida Kahlo. Pascale Petit. Shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize

What the Water Gave Me contains fifty-two poems in the voice of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Some of the poems are close interpretations of Kahlo’s work, while others are parallels or version homages where Pascale Petit draws on her experience as a visual artist to create alternative ‘paintings’ with words. More than just a verse biography, this collection explores how Kahlo transformed trauma into art after the artist’s near-fatal bus accident. Petit, with her vivid style, her feel for nature and her understanding of pain and redemption, fully inhabits Kahlo’s world. Each poem is an evocation of “how art works on the pain spectrum”, laced with splashes of ferocious colour.

What the Water Gave Me is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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