Class Acts


poems by Katerina Fretwell

144 Pages
October 10, 2013

Class Acts, Katerina Fretwell’s seventh poetry (and art) collection, establishes a posthumous relationship with Mary Wollstonecraft, the first suffragette, whose works have carved a path for feminists for hundreds of years. In the first section of the collection, “Our Mirroring Centuries,” Fretwell uses Wollstonecraft’s life and writings as a springboard for an imagined dialogue with her, or a monologue inspired by her. In the second and third sections, the poems are responses to Wollstonecraft that explore “brokenness” as a broad theme—in the world in general, and in the poet’s own world. In the final section, “The Other Half,” Fretwell goes back to the first part of her life, the fifties, and focuses on how it was different—in some ways better and yet still flawed. Fretwell is well versed in the circumstances of Wollstonecraft’s life: her husband, acquaintances, social circle and key events. It is on these that she bases many of the dialogues and monologues, along with her own life story, courageously referring to elements of her own life, some of which are highly personal. This knowledge and reflection are assets to the collection, combining the layers the author brings to the work with a call to the reader for an awareness of her own role within the poetry.
Poetic forms mirror themes: repetitive pantoums underscore female restraints in Wollstonecraft’s time; prose poems vocalize middle class fear; sestinas reflect alcoholic, cloistered socialites; blank, staggered verse mimics desperate penury.




Katerina (Vaughan) Fretwell, poet, artist, journalist, reviewer, and former registered social worker, is in the League of Poet’s Feminist Caucus, Canada pen, and the Writers Union of Canada. Her poems have been published in numerous North American journals and anthologies, including Prism International, Descant, Mix Six, Dry Wells in India, Rampike, and The Pittsburgh Quarterly. Her “Quartzite Dialogues” poems were set to music by Michael Horwood & mounted twice at the Festival of the Sound in 1999 and at 25th Anniversary, 2004, and at the Takefu Music Centre in Japan, 1999. Her sixth volume of poetry, Angelic Scintillations, a dialogue with her ancestor, the 17th century Welsh mystic poet, Henry Vaughan, was published by Inanna in 2011. She sang choral tenor in operatic productions, studied piano and voice, and lives near Parry Sound, Ontario, with her calico cat.


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