Egg Shaped Ball is a short collection of poems about women’s rugby, written by Laura DiNovis Berry. I received a copy for reviewing purposes, all thought expressed are entirely my own.
I have to be honest: I’m not much of a poetry reader. I don’t avoid it, I just don’t tend to come across it, and with a to-be-read pile of novels approaching my physical height I don’t leave myself a lot of room for stumbling across poetry and giving it a proper read. I am very glad though that I got the chance, and took the time, to read through Egg Shaped Ball.
First thing to note is that when I describe it as a ‘short’ collection, I’m not kidding. You could feasibly read through all of the poems in less than half an hour, and the temptation to slow down and enjoy the poems is in direct conflict with the sense of momentum that builds through each one.
Berry’s poetry is high-energy, like the sport she’s describing, and her love of rugby absolutely shines through in the tone and the physicality of the language.
My favourite in the collection might be “First Contact”, in which the initial impact of a game is described with compelling immediacy. I also loved “Post Game Revelry”, which reminded me of the joy of going to the pub after hockey games and drinking with teammates and opponents alike, just enjoying sharing a space and a sport.
The poem that references victim blaming, pointing out the absolute nonsense of the question “why didn’t you fight back?”, I had mixed feelings about. It’s an important topic without a doubt, and I thought the poem itself was well written and structured. On the other hand it felt like it came out of nowhere and didn’t slot all that well into the broader narrative or tone of the collection as a whole.
Overall, this was a vibrant and joyful read with some poems that I think I’m likely to revisit. Maybe not the most layered poetry you’ll encounter, but Berry uses language precisely and efficiently to convey a deep sense of joy and belonging in the world of rugby.
Egg Shaped Ball will be available on Amazon (UK) on the 3rd March.