Rebellion Box by Hollay Ghadery

When I received my copy of Hollay Ghadery’s debut poetry collection, I was eager to read it, but was waiting for the right time. Those familiar with Ghadery’s writing (in her memoir Fuse or in the many poems she had published in various literary journals) will know that her work is moving and candid, and I wanted to give this collection of poetry the space it deserves. 

Rebellion Box is everything I want from a collection of poetry: a range of subjects, carefully curated language, and an undeniable thoughtfulness at the heart of each piece.”

Rebellion Box is everything I want from a collection of poetry: a range of subjects, carefully curated language, and an undeniable thoughtfulness at the heart of each piece. Ghadery writes about the minute and the cosmic: remarking upon the “seashelled cradle” of a baby’s foot in one poem, and in another, she tackles the overwhelming anxiety around death and what might (or might not) come after. Some poems explore historical events and real people, breathing new life into figures that may be familiar to keen readers of Canadian literature and history. The “Notes” section will give readers more insight into these poems in particular, and I really appreciated this extra window into Ghadery’s inspiration for these pieces.

The collection, in my opinion, is anchored by poems concerned with love and connection, especially the tension between loving one’s children and learning that they are also independent creatures all their own, with both beautiful and heartbreaking experiences ahead of them. The poem “Maiasaura (‘Good Mother Lizard’)” captures this tension so well. In it, a young girl accidentally harms a chick by pouring juice on it, trying to share her drink. As the mother comforts the child, she recognizes the profundity of the experience, reflecting, “there’s no coming back from this” first confrontation between life and death. There is a visceral sense of love in this collection, but the brilliance of Ghadery’s exploration of this love lies in its unflinching rawness—as if such profound love is always tinged with a hint of sadness, an anticipatory grief that things cannot always stay the same. This is the way I feel about the people I love the most, and many of these poems capture the confluence of these emotions in a way I haven’t felt before.  

I loved reading Rebellion Box. Ghadery’s work is complex, lyrical, and always thoughtful. I highly recommend spending time with her words. 

About the Author

Hollay Ghadery is a multi-genre writer living in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario on Anishinaabe land. She has her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in various literary journals and magazines. Fuse, her memoir of mixed-race identity and mental health, was released by Guernica Editions’ MiroLand imprint in Spring 2021. Rebellion Box is her debut collection of poetry.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Radiant Press (April 14 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 75 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1989274919
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1989274910

Rachel Fernandes was raised in Ottawa, where she completed her Honours BA and MA in English at the University of Ottawa. She is now based in Kingston, where she is a PhD Candidate studying contemporary North American literature. Her research focuses on mixed race identity in various genres, including memoir, poetry, and the novel.
Over the last decade, she has published a smattering of poems through small presses such as In/Words, Joypuke, Coven, and Feathertale, and served on the editorial boards of The Ottawa Arts Review and The Lamp Literary Journal. She loves reading even more than she loves writing, and is excited to share and discuss new Canadian work through The Miramichi Reader.