The first thing that struck me about Ingrid Andersen’s slim volume of poetry PIECE WORK was that most of the poems are so pared down that what is not said has as much substance as what is said. Each of the poems includes the essential only, capturing both the reader’s emotions and imagination.
From the exhaustion of “Days like these” to a loving mother’s ambivalence at seeing her son leave home and thrive in “How do I speak”, Andersen calls to mind a modern woman’s multi-faceted roles with sharp insights and intense passion wrapped in clear, striking images. Clusters of brief anecdotes meander through the demands, pain and joys of various life events: the perfect wife, moving house and,in her role as ordained priest, the burial of strangers.
Andersen writes with a quiet delicacy: in the despairing “Never Again” she laments the violent xenophobia which swept the newly democratic South Africa and her final poems explore, with compassion and grace, the loneliness of dying in an ‘age of loneliness.'
PIECE WORK distils a unique South Africa voice, one that pulls no punches and evokes the struggles, emotions and faith of one woman's life in such a way that her personal vision becomes both moving and memorable.