cover image A Princess Magic Presto Spell

A Princess Magic Presto Spell

Lisa Jarnot. Solid Objects (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (32p) ISBN 978-0-9844142-7-7

Whether one considers it “a hypoepic nodule of occult origin” or perhaps an elegy to a “sprawling metropolis,” in which the joys of life are best epitomized by the statement “I’m happy like this I don’t wear underwear I love pizza,” it’s difficult to pin down the motives behind this deceptively slim collection from Jarnot (Joie de Vivre: Selected Poems 1992–2012). In three long-form poems that zip from word to word, Jarnot’s eye flits across a range of surreally juxtaposed images, even managing to include “an idiot in a cat suit” and “lactose intolerant neanderthals.” Here, each linguistic element is a toy block to be manipulated and disjointed phrases are arranged together in a collage to offer readers a vibrant, earnest, and open-ended experience. Adjective-noun combinations, such as “offending purple snow suit” and “oaxacan space dog,” are the norm, summoning the childlike enthusiasm and pleasure derived from recontextualizing words and their possible combinations. Emilie Clark’s gorgeous watercolors, mostly from her series My Garden Pets, are interspersed among the poems, which adds to the collage aesthetic. The paintings’ colorful, dreamlike renderings of the natural world strive to be similarly all-encompassing in their subject matter and, paired with Jarnot’s poems, offer a “midsummer cacophony of peaches, hydrangeas, and bees.” (June)