For Another Writing Back

Elaine Bleakney. Sidebrow (SPD, dist.), $15 trade paper (66p) ISBN 978-1-940090-00-9
Through lyrical, essayistic prose poems, Bleakney's debut collection examines and interrogates everyday occurrences; interweaving news, illness, television, and landscape across six untitled sections as she summons and questions speech and silence. In one passage, Bleakney juxtaposes reality television with an atmospheric walk, dog in tow: "The housewives on television gather in one of their houses to receive racks of clothes... I saw a hawk build her nest and Ingrid waited with me, sniffed around." Elsewhere, Bleakney offsets personal and public history: "It may take a hundred years to cool, for the shaken reactors in Fukushima to reach cold. The summer Elizabeth and John's son was born it was too hot to move." Bleakney is concerned with the exchange between reader and writer, as well as how the book conceals and reveals: "When we get to the page where the bunny's in the corner with dandelions or drift: there he is. Where he's been and he wasn't before. We read. I mean we trace him to us." Similarly, she reflects on her role as a writer through the voices of other writers, "Emerson talks about ‘The Poet'; who is this? Silence in the room again." Bleakney's meditative and searching poems artfully assemble not a linear narrative, but an evocative consideration of a life. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
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