Today's book of poems - The End of Travel, Julie Bruck, Brick Books, 1999, 2012.
If I had been on a jury in 1999 and read this book by Julie Bruck she might have won the GG a decade ago.
It was only a few weeks ago that I read Monkey Ranch. It was excellent. I enjoyed reading Monkey Ranch so much that I went back and read The Woman Downstairs (1993) again. Yesterday I was visiting Cameron Anstee and he gave me a copy of The End of Travel.
Cameron, a publisher and poet, has a great collection of Canadian poetry and a deep love and respect for the history and tradition of Canadian literature. We gossiped like wet hens about the books and poets we love and admire.
For me Julie Bruck is shooting closer and closer to the top of that list, the list of poets I love and admire.
It would be so wrong for me to describe this work as ordinary, but it is. Perfectly, poetically, ordinary. Bruck does what I admire most and that is to look closely at the day to day existence we all share. She looks at it through her astonishingly focused gaze and then shares simple wisdoms and observations that we have all made in the best part of our imaginations. It isn't that what Bruck is saying is new, there is nothing new under the sun, but Bruck is saying it well.
This is subtle music we should all recognize.
The poems in this volume deal with love and loss and illness and the length of a dog's nails. Like any good writer, it really doesn't matter what Bruck is writing about, I'm going to be very interested in reading it.