Alice in Winterland
The Russian version of Alice in Wonderland doesn’t feature the blonde-haired lass we all know from the usual take on the tale, but the dark haired Alisa, whose traits include a particularly sharp sarcastic streak. Poet Julie Egdell discovered all of this when she went to work in St Petersburg and noticed the similarities between herself and this Bizarro World Alice. And she has used Lewis Carroll’s famous creation as a jumping off point for her own adventures through a land far removed from her native Whitley Bay. She also uses this device to explore her inner landscape too, affairs of the heart being a recognisable obstacle course to negotiate, simply in the case of Let’s Pretend We’re King and Queen, but devastatingly so. What rings truest about this debut collection is the very strangeness of life itself, wherever you happen to be. “All of us are visitors/ in wonderland” she notes in Ask Alice, and if you’re looking for a tour guide, then I’d certainly put in a word for Julie Egdell.