Theresa Munoz – Settle (4 stars)

Skilful and personal debut from Canada-born writer

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Theresa Munoz – Settle

Theresa Munoz's debut poetry collection, Settle, can be summed up with a line from the poem, 'Settlement': 'here is our life / on sheets / of paper.' This collection explores the experiences the writer and her family have had with emigration (Munoz was born in Vancouver before moving to Scotland, while her parents moved from the Philippines to Toronto). As such, these pieces feel extremely personal: Munoz's life is indeed here before us, in poetry, on paper.

A highlight is 'Twenty Two', in which the poet writes of 'the age my mother and I emigrated to cities / we had never been, years apart', and asks 'should I go back, or have I begun again?'. This poem encapsulates the beauty of her writing – it is at once factual and emotional, and is deeply affecting.

This collection also covers technology, which offers a good chance to see the writer's sense of humour ('Googling the Other Theresas' is excellent). But the best poems explore the idea of belonging. These poems skilfully ruminate on the strength and complexity of the human spirit, no matter where in the world it ends up.

Settle is out now, published by Vagabond Voices.

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