Again Behold the Stars – Alex Josephy
It’s winter, 1553. A small Italian hill town is under siege…
In this narrative of uncommon endurance Alex Josephy inhabits place and people with lively precision. Told in the voices of women, including a chorus, a nearby mountain and the fortress herself, the uniting voice of the pamphlet is a ‘girl’, through whose eyes we see the minute details of life under immense stress and feel the nuances of loss, hunger and uncertainty. Again Behold the Stars is an intense immersion into a lockdown that challenges all the senses, one utterly different from the modern experience of lockdown during the Covid pandemic, yet also hauntingly resonant with it. Most vitally, the empathy evoked reaches us across almost five centuries, making us care in the present.
It is in their timelessness that Josephy’s glimpses – scorci – through the arrow slits of lives under siege are given their timeliness. The narrative of these exquisitely crafted poems, with their echoes of sonnets and madrigals, is both meditative and outraged; poems that exist of themselves and yet cohere. At its heart, however, Again Behold the Stars, is an anthem of hope and endurance, is a celebration of the complexity and strength of community and womanhood in hard times.
Alex Josephy lives in Rye, East Sussex, and sometimes in Italy. She has been a reader and writer of poetry all her life, and has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has worked as a teacher and university lecturer and as an NHS education adviser. Her most recent collection is Naked Since Faversham, Pindrop Press, 2020. Other work includes White Roads, Paekakariki Press, 2018, and Other Blackbirds, Cinnamon Press, 2016. Her poems have won the McLellan and Battered Moons prizes, and have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the UK, Italy and India.
You can find out more on her website: www.alexjosephy.net