The Emily Valentine Poems

Zoe Whittall’s book of poetry begins with a sense of frustration: “You have love and the word love, but the two will never meet.” Once into this attractively packaged collection, you can quickly deem Whittall’s frustration with language unnecessary. Her words, dense with meaning, flow in such a serene manner that they beg to be read aloud. With these words, Whittall transforms you into a shameless voyeur, peering into the speaker’s strangest emotions and wildest weekends. However, Whittall’s poems do not make up some juvenile diary, but rather the diary of woman who parties at the Gladstone, tells Molly Ringwald to fuck herself, and references pop culture with haikus: “I don’t believe most/ kids when they say they like the/ Velvet Underground.” This collection seems to exude truth, and Whittall’s poems proclaim such honesty they startle you: “I stayed to run my hands up his leg […] arrive home drunk at dawn.” An assembly of insightful observations and private confessions, this is a collection that makes you feel as if the speaker is divulging secrets, as if she trusts you. Whittall ends her poems in a way that keeps you begging for more. Although you never will know what happened after she sacrificed her favourite pair of underwear, you could turn the page and read about how she “made out with [her] favourite fag for a photo op.” These poems effortlessly present a world of sex, drugs and rock and roll as something ordinary. (Pamela Saliba)

by Zoe Whittall, $10.00, 70 pgs, Snare Books, #1A-4302 St. Urbain St., Montreal, QC, H2W 1V5, snarebooks.wordpress.com

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