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Review: Sign my Citalopram by Hannah Chutzpah


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Sign my Citalopram is a collection of poems from Hannah Churzpah’s one woman touring show ‘Asking Nicely’ / ‘Confidence Tricks’. At it’s heart the collection is an exploration of permission. How that effects us individually and socially, about how we navigate modern society and ultimately how we navigate ourselves through this minefield of permissions, both granted and revoked.  It highlights a very modern dilemma of How, Where and Why we ask permission of both ourselves and others.

As Chutzpah says in Permission ‘This is for the women who’ve stopped counting calories/ And started counting stars’ in a world seemingly filled with the individual Chutzpah’s writing style is crammed with colloquialism and personal anecdotes that tease familiarity from the reader. The collection is like sitting down with an old friend and setting the world to rights. Chutzpah reminds us that we all experience solitude and isolation and that it is exactly that shared experience that can bring us together, as in her poem Could I have some of that too? ‘I never saw her as not part of the crowd / until she kept letting us know‘, what is this need for reassurance we have bred within ourselves? AND WHY? . However, rather than parade herself as a martyr of experience her words work their way into our consciousness and draw out our own stories, highlighted in Hippie Sumo Freak ‘Those were the names I was called at school/ I’m sure you had your own’ . They discourage superiority, in all of it’s negative traits, and rather bring us all into the discussion equally.

By discussing large, often taboo or complex issues with a matter-of-fact honesty, Chutzpah works to strip the mystery from these issues and bring about the frank reality ‘Shit happens / Get help / Take time / Get better’ from the title poem Sign my Citalopram.

The refreshing angle of the collection is it’s avoidance of blame.When talking about permission or a lack of confidence, we are often drawn to gain power through blame. Here the focus is on YOU – the self, the reader. It encourages us to grant ourselves permission, to stop asking the obvious questions, to persuade us to believe in ourselves, finally.

About the Author:

Hannah Chutzpah is a performance poet, writer, activist,  feminist, socialist, smartass, and a klutz. She has been described as ‘fine’ by three therapists, as ‘of good character’ by a high court judge, and as a ‘potential maggot-thrower’ by the Metropolitan police. 

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