Friday, October 30, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Undercurrent - Rita Wong (Nightwood Editions)

Today's book of poetry:
Undercurrent.  Rita Wong.  Nightwood Editions.  Gibsons, British Columbia.  2015.


Rita Wong's Undercurrent is a siren scream, call to action, manifesto, electric cattle prod, banshee wail.  Wong's poetry is a passionate plea, a desperate entreaty for us to act.  This is a love song for our planet.

Wong loves water and she has researched her heart out as her list of materials, journals, essays, books and so on stretches for several thousand pages.  She has distilled, from the murk of our most polluted streams, a clear vision and it requires our participation.

Declaration of Intent

let the colonial borders be seen for the pretensions that they are
i hereby honour what the flow of water teaches us
the beauty of enough, the path of peace to be savoured
before the extremes of drought and flood overwhelm the careless
water is a sacred bond, embedded in our plump, moist cells
in our breaths that transpire to return to the clouds that gave us
     life through rain
in the rivers & aquifers that we & our neighbours drink
in the oceans that our foremothers came from
a watershed teaches not only humbleness but climate fluency
the languages we need to interpret the sea's rising voice
water connects us to salmon & cedar, whales & workers
its currents bearing the plastic from our fridges & closets
a gyre of karma recirculates, burgeoning body burden
i hereby invoke fluid wisdom to guide us through the toxic muck
i will apprentice myself to creeks & tributaries, groundwater &
     glaciers
listen for the salty pulse within, the blood that recognizes marine
     ancestry
in its chemical composition & intuitive pull
i will learn through immersion, flotation & transformation
as water expands & contracts, i will fit myself to its ever-changing
     dimensions
molecular & spectacular, water will return what we give it, be that
arrogance & poison, reverence & light, ambivalence & respect
let our societies be revived as watersheds

"water is unstoppable" -Wes Nahanee, from the Squamish Nation

because i am part of the problem i can also become part of
     the solution
although i am part of the problem i can also become part of
     the solution
where i am part of the problem i need to be part of the solution
while i am part of the problem i can also be part of the solution
one part silt one part clear running water one part blood love
     sweat
not tar but tears, e inserts a listening, witnessing, quickening eye
broken but rebinding, token but reminding, vocal buck
     unwinding
the machine's gears rust in rain, moss & lichen slowly creep life
     back
the rate of reclamation is humble while the rate of destruction
     blasts fast
because we are part of the problem we can also become part of
     the solution

Who are we? We are the beings who need clean water in order to live a life of
dignity, joy and good relation. Maybe you are a part of "us" without even knowing
that you are. Maybe we are the one who are too often taken for granted or
ignored, the quiet witnesses to atrocities, greed, mean-spirited hierarchies,
hostages of capitalism. Maybe we are remembering what it means to respect
water, because doing so is to respect ourselves, our shared, fluid vulnerability,
our funny contradictions, our stumbling, dancing, crying, laughing, eating,
drinking, pissing, working, playing, burping, farting, messy selves. Maybe we are
the thunderstorms that precipitate when too much has been repressed, the weeds
that refuse to stop, the coyotes, the grandmothers, the yet unborn. Maybe we are 
flash floods, demoralized workers, the hospitalized, the angry entitled children
who don't even remember to thank the water that keeps them alive. Maybe we are
system change as well as climate change. Dripping & spitting, we rise.

...

One way or another every person on earth is in Wong's Undercurrent.  Back in the early 1980's I was studying at Trent University in Peterborough and was a student in their first year of having a Cultural Studies program.  Jody Berland was one of the instructors for that program and here she is again.  Deep inside Undercurrent.  You and your mother are in here, her mother too, because Wong is swinging for the fences big time, she wants all of us to come with her and makes a damned good case.

Today's book of poetry remains a big, big sucker for the list poem.  Rita Wong does not disappoint. My minions all had numerous poems picked out from Undercurrent that they wanted used, they campaigned hard but it all fell of deaf ears.  It was as though there was a rush of a waterfall, all taps turned on full, the shower drowning out all minion sound.  The list prevailed.

immersed in chlorinated water
immersed in formaldehyde off-gas
immersed in car exhaust
immersed in the oxygen produced by oceanic plankton
immersed in windy chinook
immersed in barbecue aroma
immersed in smog
immersed in someone's sneeze
immersed in the oxygen produced by cedar
immersed in the oxygen produced by fir
immersed in the oxygen produced by hemlock
immersed in carbon dioxide
immersed in the colonial present
immersed in loonsong
immersed in endocrine disrupting dust
immersed in the smell of the ocean
immersed in stale air
immersed in English
immersed in ego-jacking capitalism
immersed in thought
immersed in ancestral respect, or not
immersed in natureculture
immersed in electromagnetic fields
immersed in gravity
immersed in radio waves
immersed in multilingual contact zone
immersed in transmission frequencies
immersed in ultraviolet rays
immersed in someone's perfume
immersed in ambient sound
immersed in neighbourhood vibe
immersed in urban hurry
immersed in pedestrian drift
immersed in the protocol of sunlight
immersed in the irrepressible commons, come!
immersed in q'elstexw





                                                  The forest is falling.
                                                            It hears itself.
                                                 The rain ineluctable
                                        Speechless and necessary.
                                                           -Phyllis Webb

...

Years ago a dear friend, David Collins, told me that I should listen to more of Ben Webster.  He was right.  We should all listen to more of Ben Webster.  At first it falls over you like a warm mist that you didn't know you needed.  The more you listen, the deeper you get in the water, until finally you are adrift on an ocean that is beautiful.  Today's book of poetry is making everyone in the office listen to Ben Webster exclusively this morning.  It goes perfectly with the deep, deep water Rita Wong wants us to swim in.

Good poetry is always timeless, and really good poetry is timely as well.  Rita Wong could be singing these poems on the late night news.  Her crisp interpretation of world of water could headline.

North Shore Sewage Story

crows party
at the wastewater treatment plant
hop, skip, skim the scum
for meaty delectables
released from urban drains

crows swoop
the bubbling froth
with the grace of gravity

one lone monkey puzzle tree
sits at the lions gate
witnesses sludge stream
gas flares

the huge digesters process
what we have left behind
our discards sifted
chlorinated, pumped out
into the burrard inlet

primary treatment
was built to handle good shit, not
phthalates & flame retardants
birth control pills & antidepressants
morphing fish anatomy
decreasing sperm counts
infiltrating fishy homes

while i long for tertiary rescue
the crows salvage
what they can
from cities industriously pumping out
chemical consequences
transgendering water & children
testing ocean temper

"The era of flush-and-forget is ending... it is the responsibility of every citizen to make sure that
defecation means fertilization of the land that feeds us" - Peter Warshall, Septic Tank Practices

...


Today's book of poetry takes off our Pork Pie Hat to Rita Wong.  It takes a lot of gas to really put your money where your mouth is.  Undercurrent is as strong as truth always is.

Completely unassailable.

Today's book of poetry nominates Rita Wong to be Canada's next Poet/Minister of Water.



Rita Wong

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rita Wong is the author of four books of poetry:monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998), forage (Nightwood Editions, 2007), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai) and undercurrent (Nightwood Editions, 2015). forage was the winner of the 2008 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Canada Reads Poetry 2011. Wong is an associate professor in the Critical and Cultural Studies department at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design on the unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver.

BLURBS
undercurrent is Rita Wong's love song for rivers, land, and sentient being on earth. It's an elegy for the polluted and cancerous rivers, land and life. It's also a cry to wake up all the warriors to do something for the earth dying in the hands of humans. "What better gifts can we offer?" asks Rita. Well, her poetry is the best gift, the current that jolts us into actions before it's too late.
     -  Wang Ping

Rita Wong painfully & poignantly articulates the devastating impact of capitalism on water & the health of our planet., while reminding us of the beauty that surrounds us and providing hope that we can change the direction of this nightmarish journey of consumerism we're currently taking. Rita Wong offers us another way of seeing this world and our place within it, and she does so in a way that exudes kindness, respect, joy and a deep love of life. This poetry will enrage, enlighten & move you to try engaging your fellow beings & the waters we share in a more protective & humble way.
     -Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm

Rita Wong
Cascadia Poetry Festival Readings
video:  MS PoetryDocs

nightwoodeditions.com

399

DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

American Urn - Selected Poems (1987-2014) - Mark Irwin (The Ashland Poetry Press)

Today's book of poetry:
American Urn - Selected Poems (1987-2014).  
Mark Irwin.  The Ashland Poetry Series.  Ashland, Ohio.  2015.


"Oh Jesus!" I muttered out loud, it was late and I startled my almost sleeping wife.  "What is it?" She responded in that startled almost sleeping voice.  "This poem, it is so beautiful and so sad, this is why I love poetry."

I was talking about this poem:

Rider

As I carried my mother from the hospital bed
across the room toward the chair by the window,
she played with my gold watch as if it were a toy,
flipping the strap up and down, then singing Giddyup,
Giddyup, but as I looked at her she did not smile
so I nodded my head, snorted, then put a pencil
in my mouth, as bit, and cantered about the room
till I was out of breath, puffing, and she patted me, saying,
Good boy, Good boy, so I pawed the carpet, slobbering a little
like her, as she waved and I nodded my mane,
until this was how we said goodbye one spring
while the sun shrank to a white hot BB among a thousand
others receding in the jeweled, black sky as the rivers
galloped away with her breath through the dark green land.

...

Mark Irwin's American Urn gives us a tasting menu of twenty-five years of poetry from one of America's most honoured poets.  American Urn is James Taylor's "Steamroller" - Irwin is laying down a seamless path.  These poems are a rich and subtle accounting of our last century's terrible beauty.

On page after page, in poem after poem, Irwin explains some dark lesson that only required his light touch to illuminate.  Remember that word, illumination.

Passion is a word I usually reserve for my timelessly patient partner in crime, K.  But I'll bring it out for Irwin.  These poems are bursting with a fierce intelligent passion.

No, wait, I mean compassion.  American Urn is a passionate plea for compassion.  Mark Irwin's vision is intensely humane and American Urn can be seen as a new primer.  It should replace every Gideon's Bible in every motel and hotel in North America.

Elegy (with Advertisement)
Struggling to Find Its Hero

It was a century in which we touched ourselves in mirrors
over and over. It was a decade of fast yet permanent
memories. The kaleidoscope of pain

some inflicted on others seemed inexhaustible
as the positions of sex, a term
whose meaning is as hybridized as the latest orchid. Terrorism

had reached a new peak, and we gradually
didn't care which airline we got on, as long as the pilot
was sober, and the stash of pretzels, beer, and soft drinks

remained intact. On TV, a teenage idol has just crawled, dripping wet,
from the top of a giant Pepsi can, or maybe I imagined it,
flicking through channels where the panoply

of reality shows has begun to exorcise
the very notion of reality, for both the scrutinized actor
and the debilitated viewer who becomes confused and often reaches

into the pastel screen for his glass, while down Broadway
sirens provide a kind of glamorous chorus
for this script of history where everything is so neatly measured

in miles, pounds or megabits. How nice it would be
to drowse in the immeasurable. How nice
it would be to escape.

                                                  And there's a wobbly marble bench
                                                              beneath an out-of-focus tree on the Web
                                                                         I like to occasion my body with.

How brief we've become in our speed
I think. How fast the eternal.
How desperately

we need a clearing, a place
beyond, but not necessarily
of nature. And the rain

was so deep the entire forest smelled of stone, then the sun
broke, burying the long shadows
in gold. And the wounded

king woke in a book long since closed, and the princess
came to in a bed so large
she could never leave. How desperately

we need a new legend, one with a hero, tired
though he may be. One who has used
business to give up

business, one who has bought
with his heart what we
sold with ours.

...

Today's book of poetry is a big fan of hope, even when draped in despair.  Irwin's smart mirth elevates these poems to something closer to psalms.

Unfortunately for you readers, Today's book of poetry concentrated on only the first few sections of these Selected Poems, not because we didn't want to expand our horizon but simply because I got caught up in his most recent poetry and couldn't get out of it.  The poems from Irwin's two most recent collections, Tall If (2008) and Large White House Speaking (2013), both published by New Issues Press out of Western Michigan University, kept me fully occupied.

Irwin gets so much right it becomes hard not to see him as some sort of Illuminati, some sort of Minnesota bred Michel de Nostredame, Nostradamus.  Today's book of poetry gets the impression that Irwin sees back and forth into time.

American Urn

A wide prairie dotted with buffalo, finding some mountains.

A machine on a long track moving west: People in feathered

costumes. --Flags, a slaughter. Below, a war with this flag

and another that, as you turn the bronze, becomes a modern

riot. Now a metropolis and airport, a radio tower,

then a dead tree that resembles a cross as the images become

more cluttered--an ad for soap that will make you younger,

a tiny action figure staring into the distance, and an enormous

shine from I can't tell what, but could be the evening

with all its bright tons settling down over wheated fields.

...

There is rarely much in the way of total agreement here at our office but everyone was on board today.  American Urn - Selected Poems (1987-2014) is a must-have book for any poetry shelf or bedside reading pile.  This is must-read poetry.

If you don't like this book I will come to your house and read it to you until you do.

Mark Irwin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Irwin was born in Faribault, Minnesota, and has lived throughout the United States and abroad in France and Italy. His poetry and essays have appeared widely in many literary magazines including The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, New England Review, and the New Republic. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (M.F.A.), he also holds a Ph.D. in English/Comparative Literature and has taught at a number of universities and colleges including Case Western Reserve, the University of Iowa, Ohio University, the University of Denver, the University of Colorado/Boulder, the University of Nevada, and Colorado College.

The author of eight collections of poetry, including The Halo of Desire (Galileo Press, 1987), Against the Meanwhile (Wesleyan University Press, 1989), Quick, Now, Always (BOA , 1996), White City (BOA, 2000), Bright Hunger (BOA, 2004), Tall If (New Issues, 2008), Large White House Speaking (New Issues, 2013), and American Urn: Selected Poems (Ashland Poetry Press, 2015), he has also translated two volumes of poetry, one from the French and one from the Romanian. Recognition for his work includes The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, National Endowment for the Arts, Colorado and Ohio Art Council Fellowships, two Colorado Book Awards, the James Wright Poetry Award, and fellowships from the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations. He lives in Colorado, and Los Angeles, where he teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern California.

BLURBS

Large White House Speaking

Large White House Speaking is a book of startling marvels . . .Mark Irwin is one of our best poets, and this is his best book yet.” 
     - LAURA KASISCHKE


Tall If

NOTABLE BOOK OF 2008 - Bloomsbury Review, International Poetry Review

“Even as individual lines and phrases achieve a luminous clarity, there remains a brooding circularity to Tall If, in part the apprehension of mortality at mid-life but in part something stranger.”
     - G. C. WALDREP, West Branch


Bright Hunger

“ . . . virtuoso performances . . . an intensity, an urgency about the evanescence of life and the various forces pressing on the human spirit and psyche.” 
     - PAMELA ALEXANDER, Field


White City

“Subtlety of ear, of phrasing, of language altogether, and a light-play of feeling, disguise the urgency and evocative range of Mark Irwin’s grave sensibility. The richness and evanescence of the moment surface repeatedly in his lines.” 
     - W. S. MERWIN

“This is a book one wants to taste again and again.” 
     - JOHN ASHBERY


Quick, Now Always

“ . . . a jagged, heartbroken, and ecstatic excursus on the late 20th century, a race through troubled paradise.” 
   - RANDALL WATSON, Chelsea


Mark Irwin
Poetry Every Day Project
"My Fathers Hats"
video:  Overlook Tutorial Academy


398

DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bodymap - Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Mawenzi House)

Today's book of poetry:
Bodymap.  Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.  Mawenzi House.  Toronto, Ontario.  2015.


We all have the histories of our bodies to lament or rejoice, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha Momma Thorton's her Whitman' YAWP.

Ol' Walt intoned "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world."  Bless his cotton socks. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha yawpsings a "queer disabled femme of colour love song."  The entire time she sounds like a cross between the sweetest songs of love and desire - and a hep mad cat fist-machine hell bent on bending the world into welcoming her point of view.  Bodymap is a splendid step in every direction at once.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's poems are scalding prayers of intimacy and desire.

a million dollars

I was pumping gas and you asked to pump it for some spare
     change.
I said sorry man, I have forty bucks to my name,
and you said, well, you look like a million dollars

& I wondered what a million dollars looks like
and what
minus 187 in overdraft plus fees looks like
cause I have looked like that.

I have looked like that
hard femme
don't fuck with me
switchblade ass swish
ima cut you at the bus stop for saying good morning
because I know everything that could and has come
from that moment

I have looked like
walking to the store in a miniskirt
after the car breaks and the phone breaks
and there is twenty dollars in a wallet
for the next two weeks

I'm a chipped manicure full of starry glitter
ends worn to the quick
from hard
hard work
I'm a gorgeous ass that's bedbound

I want you to love me messy in the morning
the same four year old booty shorts and no bra.
I want you to know
I beautiful
like a 36 year old on her couch
before the shower
the makeup
what I show you
what I will allow you to see.

I want you to love me
after the lipstick wears off.

...

Today's book of poetry is an almost 60 year old, straight, white man run operation.  What the hell do I know about femme lit/life?  How do I read, process and share Bodymap?  Many of these poems are scathing indictments - but they aren't aimed at me - they are a manifesto aimed at a new type of freedom and poetry has no more noble purpose.

I love hard girls
for amber dawn

hips like a hummingbird jackhammer
a brick house         body a brick city
crumbling
Boots that climb to thighs
thick and pebbled
with the big bags of potatoes and rice waiting in the pantry
to survive hard times
Those girls who will fuck you up for no good reason

I love girls with whiskey espresso belly
I love the brown girl worry line
perpendicular to the perfect eyebrow
The rosewater olive oil in the food and in the homemade facial
     toner
the groupon and the gas money
the twenty bucks tucked away and passed
the penny jar hip bones shaking brass
the emergency stockings
the you wanna make $300?

The delicious satisfaction of wanting to text
go fuck yourself
I hate you
fuck you

I love girls who wanna set shit on fire,
whose cut eye can penetrate oil spills
I love girls who want to smash faces, break windows
whose asses swish with the cut of razors

I love every loud-mouthed-hard-assed-fuck-with-you
skin soft like a loquat as they punch your cunt into an infinity
     femme
I love girls who will fuck you up for no
and every good reason

and I love those girls
who look at me hard and whisper thank god
who have never once been scared of me

...

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha reminds us here at Today's book of poetry of those many dear friends we all share whose lives are complicated by the colour of their skin or their choice of partners for intimacy.  Bodymap is a real kick in the ass that reminds us all that there are an infinite number of paths to joy.  Justifiably angry and frustrated by having to kick against the pricks - Lakshmi Peipzna-Samarasinha none the less finds ways to soar.  These poems allow us to soar with her.  Remember the Yawp.

These poems narrate a sad roster of disappointments and laments but the more I read, the more universal it all sounded and the more I began to hear the joy within.  The best poetry always rises above labels and this poetry raises above any particular agenda.  This is another colour for the mosaic that celebrates all the colours of the rainbow.

I will take care of you forever

spring equinox and I wake at six a.m. because you're not standing
on my chest
but something is hovering, I turn the light on, edit what I wrote.
I feel you pass out of right ovary
I don't have to hold on to you.
there's no way I could lose you
I whisper, I don't think I ever told you
the Cree word for love means we'll take care of each other forever
and even though we'll never speak again
I promise: this to you.

...

Today's book of poetry has to tell you, unequivocally, that there are some heart-stopping, jaw-dropping, sweet-sweat inducing horny poems in Bodymap.  Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is going to raise the temperature in every room her poetry enters.

Today's book of poetry was enthralled by the boisterous intelligence that rivets the reader to every page.  The world inside this book isn't a new world but it is generally one overlooked by the day to day of the mainstream.   Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's Bodymap opens a big door, walk in.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Winner of the 2012 Lambda Literary Award, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, teacher and performer of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan, Roma and Irish ascent. The author of Bodymap,  Love Cake and Consensual Genocide and the co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writing has been widely anthologized.  She is the co-founder of the queer people of color arts incubator Mangos With Chili, 
a lead artist with Sins Invalid and co-founder of Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School.
In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press’ 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future.
Her first memoir, Dirty River, is forthcoming from Arsenal Pulp Press in fall 2015.

BLURBS
"Sharp, yet remarkably compassionate, Piepzna-Samarasinha knows that the poem is no place for tidy inquiry and easy answers. She offers her own tenacious guts and veins on each every page. Only someone who understands rage and reconciliation and blood and bone can write like this."
     —Amber Dawn, author of How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir and Sub Rosa

"These poems are a gift for your love for self, your love itself and everyone you love. It is rare that a poet priestess offers words that allow us to emerge reborn with dirt, glitter and tenderness... Revere it. Revel in it. Read it again and again!"
     —Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author, Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Loft Equilibrium Supershow
video: The Loft Literary Center

mawenzihouse.com

397
DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wolf Doctors - Sara Woods (Artifice Books/Curbside Splendor)

Today's book of poetry:
Wolf Doctors.  Sara Woods.  Artifice Books, an imprint of Curbside Splendor Publishing.  Chicago, Illinois.  2014.


Today's book of poetry flat out loves Sara Woods' Wolf Doctors.  

If you are anything like the staff here at Today's book of poetry you spent almost all of your time reading poetry.  Every type of poem.  So, when someone comes along and Wolf Doctors you, it is always going to be a surprise.

Sara Woods masterfully uses her cynical wit like a whip in a cage full of lions.  The speed of sound reality we all live in  is quickly snapped to attention by the stinging end of her report.

Close-up Photo Of Flowers With
Leaves


touching your hair is a slow death /
single parent families and holding
tighter / tighter. keep your chin up
ballerina. wasting time we are wast-
ing / time, you made me coffee and I
appreciate that, glow-worm, dressed
for the weather, holding, / in my
swimsuit i will dive in the ocean / i
will swim in the waves / like a con-
gress of wolf doctors / scrubbing
themselves down.

...

There are no instructions with Sara Woods' marvelous Wolf Doctors but seat-belts should be required. Woods has the ability to turn on a dime, dance on the head of pin.  These poems are deadly serious and inhumanly hilarious at the same time.

One of the things about this wildly inventive collection that sticks with the reader is that Woods renders the impossible so real.  She makes improbably connections, absurdly astute connections that simply open new doors of perception.  Sara would have the attention of Aldous, Jim Morrison too.

Stream

Christopher wanted to live in a mountain stream in the
winter. He wanted to push his fingers into the mud and
watch the salmon spawning. He currently lived above a
taqueria on Halsted. Sometimes at night he would open
his bathroom window and stand in the shower with the
nozzle on all the way cold and feel the wind and the water
trickling down over him and look out at the people mill-
ing up and down the street and pretend. He was a bear.
He was going to eat them.

...

These poems kick you in the kilter.  At every turn Woods turns just that much more and leaves your feet searching for purchase.  You know the feeling of being on a flight of stairs of irregular height, where one step is too high or too low, and you are momentarily suspended in a new disbelief.  Woods does this to the reader all the time.  Once she has you on shaky ground she plays around with your firmament.

There are moments of joy in Wolf Doctors, they happen all the time, peppered into the text with a Master Chef's touch -- but mostly it is the polite unease the Wolf Doctor prescribes.  Woods' has invented new ways to see the world and is ready to poke you in the eye if necessary.

The Opposite Of Killing 1000 People

i am going to sneak into 1000 homes
& leave 1000 bath & body works gift baskets.

replace the tile in 1000 bathrooms
while the owners are on 1000 vacations.

i will slip 1000 winning lotto
tickets under 1000 doors

& sneak all daily essential vitamins &
minerals into 1000 blueberry oatmeals.

watch me do 40000 covert chores
& send 20000 anonymous, gushing

letters to 1000 people's bosses.
they won't know what hit them.

then i will expand my purview:
all of america you are next!

i will pay your netflix bills &
cat-sit when you didn't ask me to!

you will wake up to a gleaming
freshly waxed car & the realization

that your folgers can has been filled with real
columbian-grown, hand-roasted beans!

then much, much later, while you sleep,
maybe in late autumn when there

is no sound but the rustling
of the trees' last golden leaves,

i will come whisper in your ear,
you are as good as the opposite of dead.

...

Another straw poll at the office read this morning.  Milo broke his vow of silence and is now demanding he be called "Wolf Doctor".  At the same time he has taken to snarling while checking our pulses on demand.  Kathryn, our new intern, is insisting we call her Kat and has affirmed that she "WILL NOT BE GIVING THIS BOOK BACK".  Everyone in the office was charmed by Kat and Woods, myself included.

Utterly charmed, enchanted, entertained.  How often does that happen?


Sara Woods

. . .


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sara Woods lives in Portland. She is the author of nine chapbooks, most recentlyWarm Morning (The New Megaphone). Her poetry and collaborations have been published in magazines like Diagram, The Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Guernica, PANK, Barrelhouse, Dusie, Sixth Finch, and Columbia Poetry Review.

BLURBS
"You know when you're reading a book and you recall a strange moment from childhood, one hiding in you you hadn't looked at in years? You were at the grocery store with your mother, browsing produce under the cold fluorescents, staring at prices, when you, your mom, everyone else in there felt a tug, from nowhere, and another, and were snagged into the quickening of time and flung into each other, into shelves, through walls, flying out into the sunlight; glad, together, wearing the names of pets... This is Wolf Doctors, and it is a true joy."
     —Donald Dunbar, author of Eyelid Lick

"Sara Woods is a writer of the moment. Her words are alive; each piece masterfully straddles the line between prose and poetry. I dare your heart not to race faster and faster with each turning page. And when you're done reading this book, you can use it to prop up your gaping jaw."  
     —Lindsay Hunter, author of Ugly Girl and Don't Kiss Me

"Sara Woods is a jewel hotel when it comes to the impossible account of the individual thrill. Give her a sentence, and she'll build a monument made out of dissolvable grocery lists. Give her a word, and she'll make it adventurous and personal. No, listen to me! I'm not just a traffic cop! Sara Woods knows what it means to witness your own wilderness."
     —Carrie Lorig, author of NODS

"Sara Woods pulls off good tricks in these prose-y poemish things, like when she addresses the people who aren't reading them, or when she calls one a writing prompt and then tells you it's a poem, or when a poem is sponsored by Red Bull. But what sends me reeling is what a great writer she is. With all the oddities and uncanny ideas, this book would be strange indeed—if it wasn't so impeccably composed, so cohesive in the way it's arranged, and in how everything bounces off each other, how it all makes sense of what's senseless. Wolf Doctors is an easy book to be enthusiastic about."
     —Adam Robinson, author of Adam Robison And Other Poems


396

DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cement Shoes - Judy Ireland (Evening Street Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Cement Shoes.  Judy Ireland.  Evening Street Press.  Dublin, Ohio.  2014.


Reading Judy Ireland's Cement Shoes is a little like sitting down with the best friend you have, you know the one I mean, the one that will cotton no bullshit.  Naturally they have a great sense of humour, otherwise how could they be trusted.  Friends like Ireland will say the hard thing.

Today's book of poetry was fully committed from the start.  Ireland's honesty is as vibrant as it is illuminating.

January - Dry Run Creek

Every year Dry Run Creek
is fed by January thaw.

Every year a boy falls
through the ice,
struggles for air,
too cold for words.

Every year they try
to revive him.

It almost never works.

You could line up all the mothers
on the bank, shoulder to shoulder.

With one breath
you could make them fall
like dominoes.

...

These poems can be haunting, when Ireland opens the gate her lament in tangible, the reader feels it in their bones.  These poems crawl over the catacombs of family, they damned near drown on remorse tinged loss, but they are always startlingly clear.

Ireland's Cement Shoes has poems filled with such delicate and endearing love and loss that your throat tightens and your mouth dries.  These frank poems sting.

Turning Fifty

I take my years to bed with me,
make room beneath my best-intentioned covers,
throw my arm across
and feel the lumpy consistency
of a life's body, aging.
I gather myself in -- restless limbs,
eyes that look for faces
that haven't seen light in years.

There were summers, before breasts,
when I played outdoors without a shirt.
Every third year, the lilac bush bloomed large,
and the liquid light-purple smell came in
through my bedroom window.
There were hard winters, when ice broke the surface
of everything, and frost made cruel floral patterns
on the glass outer door. There were years when
people died, and we kept putting on dresses.

This night will be too short.
I have save no one I intended.

...

Cement Shoes is solid, one of our biggest compliments here at Today's book of poetry.  Each and every poem in the collection is solid enough that you can step on it, by the end of this rock solid collection the reader has moved to higher ground, clearer perspective.

I felt emotionally involved with these poems from the first pages, invested.  I passed Cement Shoes around the office for our morning read.  Milo, who has taken a vow of silence, nodded his assent.  Our new intern Kathryn, who up until now has been as silent as Marcel Marceau, said that these poems "were some of the saddest sweet she'd ever gotten under her nails."  Then she kicked Milo's chair is an oddly gentle gesture of solidarity.

People used to sit up all night with the dead

so here I sit with you. No body, just your ghost,
probably waiting for me to make a move, like the girls
who used to fuck with me in high school, who waited
and then jumped around corners
as I walked, deep in thought.

I should get up and go to bed
but I cherish these throat-stopped hours
when grief is new, and it takes a chisel
to mark off the minutes, divide one day from another.
Time splits into before, and after.

When you can't sleep, my yoga teacher says,
lie down and find the place where your spine
needs a twist. Lie down, see where the truth
lies. As if it's somewhere in between
the box spring and the mattress.

I'm sitting here, saving up things I would tell you,
if you were to wake. I'd tell you what a brave
girl I was, how I knelt in the dirt, cupped a grasshopper
in my hands and let that green bug spit tobacco juice
all over my fingers. I'd tell you about the time
my sister and I sat face to face and touched tongues
for what seemed like hours, until a spark
of electricity flew between our two upper lips,
and we jerked apart, for forever.

...

Today's book of poetry is now a big admirer of Judy Ireland.  These honest poems can walk into any room and take a seat at the table.

Judy Ireland
photo by: Roosevelt

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judy Ireland’s poetry benefits from the verdancy and barefaced authenticity of the Midwest's working class culture, which keeps her work grounded and focused in the ordinary world, where extraordinary ideas reside with great subtlety and power. Her work is also influenced by the lush excesses of South Florida, where she currently lives and works. Her poems have appeared in Calyx, Saranac Review, Eclipse, Cold Mountain, Hotel Amerika, and other journals.

BLURBS
Early in Judy Ireland’s debut collection, in “Lot’s Wife,” the speaker laments “how unfair it was/to turn her into a pillar of salt when all she was doing/was looking.” Daring to look back carries risks—whether it’s seeing an Iowa landscape where “Seven AM hog reports on the radio” become a young girl’s “cement shoes” or a father who “voted for Nixon” and whose “shame for me/was a big flashlight” nonetheless lives on “in the dim sun/of my yearning”—but so does looking at the present carry risk, for a lover may suddenly announce as if she were “someone saying, ‘I’m partial to strawberries’” that she’s “afraid of dying.” Risk is everywhere in this collection—the rewards are these wonderful poems.
     —Stephen Gibson, author of Rorschach Art Too, 2014 Donald Justice Prize winner

Judy Ireland grew up wild with her sisters and their corn silk hair, barefoot in the dark Iowa earth. In the title poem of this beautiful collection, Cement Shoes, we hear the poet’s brother from his Harley tell her, … “your soul is different,/ your soul is full of books, / and your feet are in cement shoes.” He couldn’t be more right … cement carrying the landscape of Iowa, the land, the creeks, the earth, and the girls growing up among the rows of corn, whose “hair hung down, crazy silks among the rows; / banshees in the corn, …/. Here are lines that resonate long after reading these strong and radiant poems envisioned with an eye as clear as you might imagine an Iowa sky sees in reflection. Here is a poet grounded in her Iowa as in her poems … observant, wry and beautiful lines that weave to water’s edge, from Dry Run Creek, to New Orleans, to New York and back to Iowa … the poet tells us, “I have come so far from Iowa / only to find it in my body. / The blackest dirt on earth and I am every inch and acre of it./ bones planted deep, where no light nor rain can reach. The tall corn grows … and still my hair grows / like prairie.” This wildness pressing the edges of her lines, compels the poet’s voice in this gorgeous body of work. 
     —Susan R. Williamson, Director, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, author of Burning After Dark,           winner of the Hannah Kahn 25th Anniversary Chapbook Prize.

To hear Judy Ireland read some of her poems go to the following link:


395

DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Endangered Hydrocarbons - Lesley Battler (Book Thug)

Today's book of poetry:
Endangered Hydrocarbons.  Lesley Battler.  Book Thug.  Toronto.  2015.



Lesley Battler's absolutely incendiary Endangered Hydrocarbons continues Toronto's Book Thug's tradition of publishing the most cutting edge poetry in the country.  This tome weighs in at 175 pages and it is one hell of a dirty dance.  These poems are a scathing indictment of the policies, systems and practices that surround petrochemical production and usage.

Battler isn't just making up stuff, this is Joyce Cary Horse's Mouth stuff of the highest order.  As Gulley Jimson said:
   
“Nothing like poetry when you lie awake at night. It keeps the old brain limber. It washes away the mud and sand that keeps on blocking up the bends.Like waves to make the pebbles dance on my old floors. And turn them into rubies and jacinths; or at any rate, good imitations.”
Joyce Cary, The Horse's Mouth

These poems are collages made out of the misdirection and technospeak from the industry itself. Battler explains the text with this statement:

"All of the poems in this project are derived from texts generated in a multinational oil company. I spliced items such as wellbooks, mudlogs, geological prognoses, and meeting notes with a variety of found material, including histories and critical theoretical works, as well as travel, real estate, and home decor magazines - basically anything that crossed my path."

The following poem is an excerpt from the longer poem Pax McMurray.

the Edson wars 

for centuries
Edson's conventional well culture
had bullied the intellectuals
at Fort Mac

of course
this meant war

knowing
they were outnumbered
the Murrians pioneered
supply-chain
logistics

burned coke
with quick & dirty electricity
met intensity targets

transported
entire work camps
by horse-drawn chariot

routing the Edsonites
who continued utilizing
slaves, suffering
endless LTIs

at the same time,
commodity prices
bottomed

stymied by diminishing
sweet gas returns, Edson
surrendered to the
Bitumenites

who released one
of the most important
documents in history
Pax McMurray 1964

the Pax relied
on bulk modules
a surplus of joules
& Alcogel 1 to fuel
the imperial army

upholding the victors'
moral claim to the Regional
Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Syncrude imposed a
provisional government
wrote off the decline rate
cut supply to debt-ridden
territories

thus
the gentle colony
of bitumen worshippers
became a modern client-based
project team

...

Because Today's book of poetry is an old fart and getting older our selection of works from Endangered Hydrocarbons does not include any of the more adventurous and experimental of Battler's texts.  But I am here to tell you that you can be sure she is brilliantly convincing at every turn.

It's not just that Battler is turning OILWORLD upside down and sideways -- these are poems written by an effervescent neologism, a master of neolexia.  If you don't believe me just ask William Gibson. Battler invents language we somehow already know.  There is much marvelous fun buried at every turn in this new encyclopedic examination of the absurd, it is enthralling.

RADIANT DIACEL

Martin Luther and the birth of
Individual Reservoir Pressure

hollowed in autumn shadow
Luther pursues the hermeneutics
of pneumatic drills
              i lost hold of the Methane
              made of Him, Stockmaster
              and Hangman over my
              poor Soul

the young monk sobs over the antics
of apostolics at critical point on
the risk matrix
              pontiffs siphon pipelines
              fill their empty mitres

              nuns run wireline
              down saline caverns

              archbishops cache gas
              in lavish Vaticans

              mud-filtrate desecrates
the Holy Writ

haunted by hydraulic pumps
caught in faulty logic, he
promises to rid the world of
Cathodic corruption
              salvation is a gift of God's grace
              music of the chemical
              Eucharist is received
              by tests alone

personal revelation

on the very day condensate gas
goes retrograde, God reveals
His Five-Year Plan
              the Reservoir Fluid
              Composition of Tool
              1200 is tabulated
              on Pages 6 & 7

early temperature
vs. pressure plots

Luther burns the bull allowing nuncios
to sell Unleaded at Stations of the Cross

writes 600 million cubic feet a day
a personal best
              but i know You
              can pressure even
              the most heinous
              eicosane into a
              straight-chain
              only You
              my God

              we can not exist
              in two phases

              must
              choose

              heavy oil or
              natural gas

Marburg

Luther edits his viscosity
deposits the excess slurry
of his vocabulary

deviates from vertical wells
drilled by the Colloquy

dares test Ethyl Lead
declares it Unready

insists on the physical
wettability of the Holy Spirit

              one must open
              the perforation tunnel
              in his heart to bathe
              in Radial Flow

Wittenberg

flushed with success from first-run tests
Luther emulsifies 95 theses from his treatise
              the Compositional Analysis and Transfer
              of Bottomhole Samples

              civil authority
              can enact no law
              against the Diacel
              of the Christ who
              liquefied for our sin

...

Books like Endangered Hydrocarbons are rare as hen's teeth, poetry books like Endangered Hydrocarbons are once in a lifetime explorations of where flame meets fuel and our collective responsibility for lighting the match.

Battler isn't just being a well-informed reporter, she's turning a world upside down by being an enemy submarine in their lexicon ocean of oil.

There is much to entertain and enthrall in Battler's opus, but sit somewhere safe when you read it, Battler is going to be fracking with your head.  She is sending out information stylishly dazzled into poetry, it is under pressure and it is going to go in deep.  You won't be the same afterwards.  From now on you will aftertaste kerosene.

ADVANCES IN UNCONVENTIONAL ONEIROLOGY

at 25 barrels per capita
(60 barrels Alberta)
Canadians are the world's
heaviest dream users

my subconscious contains
a semantic core encased
in mundane sand, sulphur
salt water

heat, pressure, decay
eventually compress
past and present into
a tarry ooze

early oneirologists ran
small diameter pipes
through my limbic
system

flared off random
thought mutations
until my amygdala
blew out on Seepage
Lake

for weeks, phantasms
and psychoses clogged
the Old Man River
terrorizing Lethbridge

finally in '55 the great
Conrad Schlumberger
analyzed a lump of my
reverie and just knew

dimethyltriptamine
could increase dream
production 60%

Imperial Oil approved
gravimetric testing on
my hippocampus

cholinergic ponto-genicul-
occipital waves stimulated
my cortical structures

technicians injected
nitroglycerine into my
parietal lobe

shot-point vibrations
released dissociated
imagination from
sensory traps

REM converters allowed
thousands of metres of
uncaptured by-products
to push up the standpipe

rendering a whole new
source of my dreams
(whimsy, hypnagogia)
safe for your factory
your car, your furnace

...

This book is an indictment.  A stunning first book.  Lesley Battler has our full attention.

Lesley Battler

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in Barrie, Ontario, Lesley Battler’s work has been published in Alberta Views, Arc, Contemporary Verse 2, dandelion, filling Station, Matrix, Other Voices, PRISM international, and west coast line. She won the PRISM international Earle Birney Award (2012), and the University of Calgary Poem of the Season Award (2009) for a poem that became part of Endangered Hydrocarbons. Battler received an MA in English from Concordia University, and currently lives in Calgary, where until recently she worked in the petrochemical industry.

BLURBS
“Electric and unexpected … Lesley Battler’s ‘Idylls of Inuvik’ [is] a zinger of a poem that uses the internal, molecular energy of words to enact a merciless takedown of the still-colonial attitudes at play in the economics of Canada’s North.” 
     — Anita Lahey, Arc Poetry Magazine

“Lesley Battler’s cut-up work will continue to remind me that it will always be easier to remove overburden than it will be to clear-cut a small forest. Her work brings us the spectacle of the wars of rhetoric – with their victors and victims of ideology, hijacking knowledge and power with approved terms of vocabulary.” 
     — Paul Zits, filling Station


Lesley Battler
Reading from Endangered Hydrocarbons at the 2015 BookThug Spring Launch
video: Jay MillAr

Endangered Hydrocarbons is a 49th Shelf Most Anticipated Spring 2015 Poetry Selection


394
 DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Monologue Dogs - Méira Cook (Brick Books)

Today's book of poetry:
Monologue Dogs.  Méira Cook.  Brick Books.  London, Ontario.  2015.


"Hunger fights Appetite to the death."
                                                                                     from Little children, little children

Early in  Méira Cook's excellent fifth book of poetry a young boyfriend spits W.H. Audenesque and Today's book of poetry was captivated.  But it did raise my suspicions about being up to the task as Cook rumbles through classical antiquity with a Tarantino grin.  Monologue Dogs is one of those books where your appreciation grows with every page.

Méira Cook's monologues are crisp and refined as she inhabits her characters like a mindful and diligent ghost.

The Devil's Advocate

My lords and ladies, gentlemen of the jury--
when you hear hoofbeats, assume horses, not zebras.
This is true in almost all parts of the world
except the African savannah, where it is safer
to assume zebras. Also eland, giraffes, herds
of this and that. In India, assume cows; in Spain,
bulls, matadors with their sun-blurred hooves.
In Tuscany, angels; in Kingdom Come, horses again,
pale quartets of Wish You Were Here.

My client sends his regrets. He is busy
falling through blank verse for all eternity, while a mere afternoon
passes its shadow over us. The sun moves from one window
of the courthouse to the next, and then it's tea time.
One sugar or two? Perhaps a bun. Stretch
and yawn and back we go. I submit
for your perusal Exhibit A.
This is a map of the world, of God, and of everything.
Above is heaven, below is hell--

the future is to the right, the past to the left.
My client, in his plea for mercy, wishes me to recall
his salient points. His sense of humour, direction, and yes, style,
his tendency to violent foreshortenings, and that finding
himself irredeemably zebra, he hoofed the streets
of his brawling, captious nature, kicking
up dust and all the limping platitudes
of this earth, our home. They tell you dreams
don't come true. But they never tell you how.

...

Today's book of poetry is always interested in listening to a smart Devil, there is generally some heat generated in his presence.

Cook has brought together a stellar cast from the staples of our literature, folk/fairy tales and the Bible.  Cook covers these bases, and more, with both vigour and a wicked sense of humour.  These poems compel you to a quick second and third reading.  That is because they are layered like a cake where you don't know what is beneath the icing until you bite in.  Devil's cake served up by Cook, who certainly likes to stir things up.

Once upon a time a mother...

I could say not hard or not very often
or his pain was worse than mine.
I could say I deserved it,
or I don't remember, not much,
or hunger is a flame blued through to salt.

First the rats come out of the fields
and into the city,
like one great rat with a million mouths
and each mouth with a thousand teeth
and the will to grind our lives exceedingly small.

Then hunger enters without knocking,
as if he's lived here forever.
He lays a place at the table and draws up a chair.
Good evening, good evening. Pass the butter, do.
My goodness, this porridge is thin!

The more he eats the leaner he becomes.
A skeleton, a piece of gristle, a singing bone.
The brats climb into my belly
and begin to gnaw their way out again,
cracking me like an egg,

not in half but in pieces.
I have put all my yolks in one basket,
now I can't sleep for the sound
of lapping in the dark.
In the morning, a cough of eggshell

on the sheets and the brats lolling
with their blue Persian tongues.
My darlings, my parasites!
One day their father returns
from the empty fields and the empty seas

and the sky where nothing grows.
Hunger, my lover, sits at the head of the table,
sharpening his knives and his teeth,
while the brats crawl
from their mother's eyes.

Little maggoty things, little grubs that feed
on the truculent gaze.
I could say not hard.
Not very hard at all. I could say
pain is a proof in the Theorem of Love,

or something less complicated to do
with the bruise and the sweetness
of the after-fruit.
I thought God would hear.
I knew the neighbours wouldn't.

...

Today's book of poetry sees Monologue Dogs as a gallery full of fine tapestry, you have to wander around, take your time, return to each well woven beauty like a warm memory.

Cook's cast of characters include Hansel and Gretel, Persephone, Federico Garcia Lorca, Vasco da Gama drops by and thinks he may be God, and then there are the rumpled pages of the Bible to contend with as well.  Cook takes it all with aplomb, gives her characters ample room to explain themselves, both in Eden and out in the rest of the world.

CRACKED

Young Eve

Summer's head of cabbage, each next
breath, the garter snakes oozing from the undergrowth,
fat ripples of black and gold. Some loose

green fuse tripped our intention.
I drove north along the highway with my boyfriend
in his daddy's pickup, looking for a place to park.

The day had a crack down the middle
was one way of looking at it.
Then I opened my shirt and unhitched my bra,

more for the relief of air than his distraction
although I achieved both.
Before was the garden, after the burn of day

down to the wick, the scuffle and cut,
his mouth stubbed out against my own.
And where did you hear we were naked

is what I want to know? Unzip unzip--
my jeans round my ankles, his open at the waist.
Blames me for what happened next, wants to snap

my thighs for a wishbone. As if there were wishes
(there are none). As if he could extinguish
himself in me.

...

Monologue Days has that thing, that mojo, vibe, rumble, whatever.  You recognize the feeling when you open the book and it never goes away.  

Méira Cook is entirely convincing.

Méira Cook

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Méira Cook has published four poetry collections, most recently A Walker in the City (Brick Books). Her poetry won first place in the CBC Literary Awards, garnered a Manitoba Publishing Award (a “Maggie”), and has been featured in Winnipeg Transit’s “Poetry in Motion” program. She won the inaugural Walrus Poetry Prize in 2012. Her first novel, The House on Sugarbush Road (Enfield & Wizenty), won the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year Award in 2013. She has just completed her tenure as the Winnipeg Public Library’s Writer-in-Residence. Her latest collection of poetry is Monologue Dogs; her new novel, Nightwatching, was published in May 2015. 

BLURBS
“Again Méira Cook proves herself to be one of Canada’s most compelling poets.” 
     —Molly Peacock

“These are poems to read and reread with growing pleasure and admiration.”
     —Steven Heighton

Méira Cook
Read from Toward a Catalogue of Falling
video:  Brick Books

Méira Cook's poem "The Devil's Advocate" won the Walrus Poetry Prize in  http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2012/10/19/walrus_magazine_announces_winners_of_its_inaugural_poetry_contest.html in 2012.



brickbooks.com

393

 DISCLAIMERS

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

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