Thursday, 24 October 2019

Tanis MacDonald : part four

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I read Elee Kraljii Gardiner’s Trauma Head recently and love the way she uses language in that book-length poem to write about the experience of having a mini-stroke and recovering. Through this exploration, the book becomes a narrative of sense-making and dissociation, and is underscored by the protagonist’s navigation of the medical system. It’s a text that makes use of slippages and phonetic play of all kinds but still adheres to a narrative of injury and healing, so that a reader can follow the narrative while checking out the risky language use. Since I am always re-reading, I returned to Dionne Brand’s thirsty a little while ago, and was struck anew with how tender and fierce her writing is. That’s not a new thing to say about Brand, but after reading a lot of prose, returning to Brand’s rich and exacting poetics feels like breathing a different kind of air. Nobody writes Toronto the way Brand does; in thirsty, she calls the city “the feral amnesia of us all.” 

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