Sunday, March 2, 2014

Off the Truck: Give Me Poetry! (a Cdn. edition)|library/m/halifax-horizon|1818323Catherine Graham’s latest collection, published by Wolsak and Wynn, has an amazing cover. Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects – the title’s grey words are reinforced by red vines, or they’re becoming gently overtaken. And then there are the words themselves: a compelling image. Most poems in the book began as glosas - a form that weaves another poet’s lines into four stanzas (not unlike ivy). Most of the glosas use Dorothy Molloy poems. Another Canadian poet who wrote glosas was P.K. Page. Graham names both of these women as her spirit mentors during the writing of this book. As is common with forms in contemporary writing, the initial structure is not always found in the final product. For some readers, this may be disappointing; for others, a relief. (M)|library/m/halifax-horizon|1824846In Birds, Metals, Stones & Rain, West Coast poet Russell Thornton is described as “[exploring] the powerful, primary human relationships through images of two worlds: the natural and the urban industrial.” A quick glance through the book suggests the focus rests in the natural, but perhaps that is the work, to find those views from the city. They are largely narrative poems, but with some lovely leaps. (M)|library/m/halifax-horizon|1818404The last poet, Alexandra Oliver, meets both of the above writers, and takes a different route. Described as a formalist poet, her work turns on metre and rhyme. Perhaps there is a glosa in here; if you find it, let me know. As for content, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway describes the domestic and interior. Products are named; moments are magnified; critique and curiosity are mixed. It’s a perfect book to peruse as you commute to work by bus. (M)

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