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Book Reviews

POETRY THAT PACKS A PUNCH

Turbulent love poems put a spotlight on domestic violence

In Australia, White Ribbon reports that one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner, one in four women have experienced emotional abuse since the age of fifteen, and 85% of women have been sexually harassed. The negative impact of abuse is enormous on mental health, with intimate partner violence being the leading contributor to illness, disability and premature death for women aged between eighteen and forty-four.


Bestselling author, Kelly Van Nelson, has released her second contemporary poetry collection, Punch and Judy, shining a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence.

Van Nelson says, “When I began writing this poetry collection, it began as a series of contemporary love poems, designed to capture the ups and downs of a turbulent relationship. A partnership beginning with intense attraction, then digressing into a trapped world of arguments and pain. The characters of Punch and Judy morphed, along with a burning desire to have Judy find the inner strength to break free from the toxic situation, eventually finding herself and the love she deserved elsewhere. Only by raising awareness, generating conversation, challenging sexist attitudes, and calling out negative behaviour, can we promote respectful relationships and change society for the better. Punch and Judy are entirely fictional characters, but Judy represents every woman out there fighting to find the safe-haven they deserve and an environment where they can thrive.”

Punch and Judy explores the tangled intensity of a toxic relationship. Bestselling author, Kelly Van Nelson, brings her trademark gritty style to this modern poetry collection. She takes readers on the rollercoaster journey from attraction and desire of a couple initially meeting, through the turbulence of abuse at the hands of a puppet master, to eventually finding the courage to cut strings and break free. Punch and Judy challenges the taboo and delves into what goes on behind closed doors, bringing much needed conversation on domestic violence to the forefront of society.

Kelly Van Nelson is an award-winning poet and fiction author from NSW. Her debut poetry book, Graffiti Lane, was a number one bestseller and was gifted to Oscars nominees and winners including Quentin Tarantino, Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Hanks. She is an AusMumpreneur ‘Big Idea – Changing the World’ Award winner for her impact as an antibullying advocate through the spoken and written word, a double Roar Success Award winner for Best Book and Most Powerful Influencer, and a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist. In the spare time she doesn’t have, you will find her hanging out on the open mic, performing poetry about social issues. She is represented by The Newman Agency and her website is http://www.kellyvannelson.com.

Kelly Van Nelson

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