Iron-on Constellations

This short collection of poems is an interesting mixture of the surprising and the predictable. I most enjoyed Pohl-Weary’s poems when they were brutally honest to the point of being ironic. This potent tension can be found throughout the opening poem “What I learned growing up in Parkdale,” which begins “Cars never stop for pedestrians / Kids should buy cigarettes in ones, it’s cheaper.” Similar biting honesty can also be found in “Hope Springs,” a poem implicitly about abortion, which ends, “The nurse wears gloves / when she touches me.” These examples, among others, cut to the backwardness of our reality and only subtly imply judgment. Unfortunately, I was saddened that the entire collection was not populated by such stinging reality. Some poems were outright disappointing, like the lack of inspiration in “I am a shooting star.” It seems to me that Pohl-Weary can be a very talented poet but she became too impatient to publish a collection and included weaker poems in order to do so. (Nancy Duncan)

by Emily Pohl-Weary, $12.95, 54 pgs, Tightrope Books, 17 Greyton Cres., Toronto, ON M6E 2G1, tightropebooks.com

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