Flèche is an impressively poised, lucid and understated debut, but it’s better when it’s being none of those things. There are flashes of something at once stranger and more casual late in the book, a new voice found in often unpunctuated poems where “all the metaphors/ have failed”: “some days I dare not look at the trees/ they are such hopeful creatures”; “my lover wants me to be myself/ which is both a brilliant and cruel prospect”. Here Chan escapes the “impeccable persona” to embrace the flèche – that daring, full-bodied leap. It’s a thrilling hint at things to come.
Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane
"as Karen Jones sets out dismayingly early in her book, the only things that the real-life ‘Calamity Jane’ can with confidence be said to have in common with her legend is that she wore trousers, swore like a navvy and was pissed all the time..."
— The Spectator