by Michéle Betty
The poems in Dark Horse offer a nuanced engagement with aspects relating to memory. A South African poet of Lebanese descent, Michèle Betty interweaves the tastes, images, iconography and language of her history with poems that originate in childhood and go on to traverse continents. The poems are disruptive, even disturbing as they engage with cultural taboos and myths surrounding addiction and self-harm, consequent journeys to unfamiliar, sometimes foreign spaces, and aspects of spiritual awareness and loss. Dark Horse utilises the embodied experience of the infra-ordinary as a means of exploring a collective identity and as such offers a powerful distillation of experience and imagination.
“Dark Horse is the best collection of poems I have read in years. One brilliant poem follows another. I finished it in one sitting and then started at the beginning again.”
– FINUALA DOWLING
“In her compelling second volume of poetry, Michèle Betty navigates the dark corners of the soul. In three sections – Verso, Inversus and Verbatim – the scars of loss are described with finely tuned perception. Substantial spiritual awareness is packed into these well-crafted poems. The reader is made aware of a symmetry between grief and acceptance as the poet uncodes foreign landscapes and the inner landscape of the self.”
– JOAN HAMBIDGE
Michèle Betty is the founder of Dryad Press (Pty) Ltd, an independent publishing press dedicated to the promotion and publication of poetry in South Africa. She has a BA LLB from Wits University and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town (cum laude). Her poems have appeared in journals, both in South Africa and abroad, and have been widely anthologised. Her debut collection, Metaphysical Balm, was published in 2017.