Enough by Louise Wallace
(Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2013)
Reviewed by N.J. Mauchline
Enough is a deeply personal collation of thoughts. It takes the reader on Wallace’s journey about moving to the South Island, teaching writing, the aging process, wonderings about the future and the challenges of birthing an idea into a book.
The style of Wallace’s poems varies throughout Enough. Some poems are almost like miniature short stories shining a light onto a single moment in time, while other poems take us through the emotions experienced by a season of life.
My favourite poem was “The Lonely Girls”, perhaps because parts of it reminded me of the season I am in. It was a deeply moving poem. To write something that good, Wallace must have once been a lonely girl, or perhaps she still is. Like most of the poems in Enough, “The Lonely Girls” is raw yet refined. I love the declarations of intrigue, determination and self-worth in this poem. Their lines cause me to reflect on past loves and crushes, and how the only place they hold is in my past. Wallace speaks of value and dignity:
Forget about those ones with the moustaches, the stupid shoes —
You are so much better than them.
You are beautiful.
And they could never hope to guess
how much more you are
than they will ever get to know.
There were moments when I was reading Enough that I felt overwhelmed by the different topics Wallace was writing about, with her starting to delve into something, only to find the poem ending. I would have liked to see more of Wallace’s emotions throughout Enough, instead of only in certain poems, like “The Lonely Girls”. When Wallace writes about afflictions in a way that brings in emotion, she has the power to deeply move readers.
Enough is a collection of poems that will make you smile and make you want to cry. There is something in this collection for everyone, no matter what season you are in and regardless of what gender you are. Wallace’s vulnerability in her writing is evident throughout Enough and is the essence of what makes these poems touching to the reader.