Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reprint: Vivid verse from trio of Manitoba poets

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
By Jonathan Ball

Ariel Gordon is another Winnipeg author and Manitoba Book Award winner avoiding the sophomore slump with Stowaways (Palimpsest, 96 pages, $19).

Gordon, like Calder, oscillates rapidly between light-heartedness and melancholy, although Gordon has almost baked irony into these poems by structuring many as dubious instructions for potentially useful skills: "When the zombie apocalypse comes, your tippity-tap skills will be on par with those who can kill remorselessly," notes Gordon in "How to Learn Morse Code."

"In How to Soften Facial Scars," by comparison, Gordon abandons any jokiness to describe a woman whose "face [is] an abused envelope, / herself a scented page / you will never put down."

"You will never see her again, but you will be Facebook friends forever," writes Gordon in "How to Tell if Someone is Dead," a poem that basks in both registers. Adept and assured, Stowaways swaggers.

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My thanks to Jonathan Ball for this review of poetry titles by myself, Alison Calder, Luann E. Hiebert, and Marc Di Saverio. 

(Whee! The first review...)

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