Ants in a Jam Jar by Olivia Snowdrop

Snowdrop’s debut explored and celebrated personal growth, while Ants in a Jam Jar continues to follow this growth, Snowdrop writes far more viscerally about the past and metamorphosis.

As the title may suggest, there is a delicious stickiness this time around. Snowdrop’s work has always had the power to touch me, but now they move me as well as hold me still. There is a strong sense of confrontation in Ants in a Jam Jar; Snowdrop is confronting all which has passed and all which may come to pass. There is a conscious choice to uncover the beautiful and the ugly, and accepting both to be true — to exist.

This collection tackles the idea of growth and change being a linear process, as they are not. Snowdrop reveals how desperately we search for answers within and without ourselves — how we repeatedly define and redefine, or view our reflection and ask for something new or deny our existence completely. Their work delves into trauma, motherhood, childhood, gender, sexuality, fluidity, love, illness and grief; truthfully, this is a reader’s attempt to label a body of work which is better unlabelled, which is allowed to be.

Perhaps I should say Snowdrop writes about living. There is life on every page; not the desire or survival but simply taking ownership of how we did not make the choice to take our first breaths, we just keep on breathing. The wordplay, rhythmic structure and glorious coupling of images and sounds builds a voice which sometimes sings, sobs, mourns, or screams. Ants in a Jam Jar is not about humanity, it is human. Snowdrop faces the facets of themselves and you cannot help but do the same. You cannot help but acknowledge your own fluidity and constant shifting metamorphosis. We do not have to exist in extremes despite how often we force ourselves to.

Subsequently, their first collection was merely an introduction. As their second is a clarion call. A statement which warns every reader they are a force beyond reckoning, and there is hope and freedom in this.


Follow Olivia Snowdrop: @oliviasnowdrop

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