cover image Heating the Outdoors

Heating the Outdoors

Marie-Andrée Gill, trans. from the French by Kristen Renee Miller. Book*hug, $18 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-77166-814-9

The atmospheric, untitled poems of Gill’s latest (after Spawn) reflect on her relationship to language (“Even as dreams lose their contours, this practice gleams/ solid—the materiality of words. I know what to do and not/ do. I have the manual for these things, the rituals”) as well as heartbreak and post-breakup contemplation: “Where do I even begin to switch off my hopes, slow down my hamster, become at one with everything that struggles to survive.” Gill’s wry voice is evident throughout: “It’s a love story like all my others/ a bus marked Select/ with nobody on board” and “I’m haunted by all the space that I will live without you:/ even the effing poems of Brautigan.” The sparseness of these micropoems amplifies their surrealist descriptions, “Kissing: it’s just like the movies. You take off slowly, float toward the gym ceiling, get tangled in championship banners from bygone years.” Miller’s translation skillfully delivers the energy and pacing of Gill’s ruminative poems, though one occasionally wishes these poems were more fully developed past their impressionistic, conversational mode to offer deeper, more conclusive insights. Still, these pages full of irreverent musings deliver affecting details and candor. (Apr.)