AILEEN KELLY / CATHERINE BATESON
I first met Aileen Kelly when I ran La Mama Poetica in the early 1990s. She was one of our featured readers and I can still remember my delight in her poems, in particular, ‘My Brother’s Piano’. This is a persona poem written from the point of view of Sigmund Freud’s sister, a promising concert pianist, who was forced to practise on a silenced piano so she didn’t disturb his writing. The poem contains many of the tropes I associate with Aileen’s powerful voice. There’s the characteristic sly humour, the barbed word play and a fierce poetic intelligence and humanist feminism behind the measured lines:
If I were to write in real day
the book I assemble nightly
in the darkened library
his drive would be described as piano envy.
(‘My Brother’s Piano’)