In Dragons Wear Lipstick Anne Pia swishes her tail, puckers up, and celebrates in bold strokes andbright shades the women in her life who burned bras and bridges, who broke down barriers with
their fiery breath and trailblazing ways, ‘detonating hierarchies’ in the words of the art exhibitionthat inspired the verses gathered here. From a Sophia Loren mother bringing more than a touch
of glamour to buttoned-up Edinburgh to a daughter caught up in the whirl of motherhood, ‘climbing the walls’ where once she’d have flown above the ‘towers of toys and rainbow trails’,and her mother still seeing her radiant through puffs of exhaustion, these poems explore what it means to be disarmed as well as what it means to be detonated. Anti-immigrant prejudice can’tdampen the spirit or douse the flame, but nor does its sting ever entirely fade for a flaming flaneuse walking ‘the world over’. There’s a bittersweet paean to silenced queen, a brilliant ‘burn’ of the national bard, and, throughout, a loving line on being a daughter and a mother and learning to live and die with grace and valour.
Fashion, flowers, faith and fairy tales vie with death-by-misogyny and women-hating witch-hunts. Lippy, livid, lush and lustrous, these poems pout and shout and stick and twist. poignant poems, party poems and poems that know the print of ‘pavements claggy with mud’. Here be dragons, red in lip and nail.
Professor Willy Malley
University of Glasgow