Art critique

Moon’s move offers elegy, critique



In Lunar tides (Book*cuddly, 127 pages, $20), Shannon Webb-Campbell deals with the subtle shifts of the moon and the Atlantic Ocean to structure a collection that leans into both elegy and critique.

The sorrows that overwhelm Lunar tides are multiple – from the death of the speaker’s mother to generational and cultural losses caused by colonialism: “I can’t speak my language / hold a drum or sing myself at home / without crying.

The structure of the collection, which follows as it does the crescent and waning of the moon, the ebb and flow of the tide, reinforces both the continuing prejudice of colonial and capitalist ways of thinking, means that insist on orderly and timely resolution of grief. and, later in the collection, assembles an alternative vision: “Learn that loss has its own time, and that you are a tottering little animal.”

While the movement of the collection tentatively reaches resolution, that resolution remains contingent: “Maybe grandma knows where you are, but we don’t know where she is either.” Sometimes I find her in the line between the horizon and the sea. Other times chopping onions or peeling carrots. Some of us find pockets of her between us. We’re stuck here with the vegetable peelings, halfway to the truth.

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“I am blessed to be aware of my vivisection / by the invisible hand of the market”, Tolu Oloruntoba opens the last section of Each an oven (McClelland & Stewart, 96 pages, $20). Following his Governor General’s Award The junta of chance, Each an oven is a vast and powerful collection, driven by a combination of analytical finesse, rage and vulnerability.

Oloruntoba uses the finch migration as a structuring metaphor for the tensions that underlie life in the African diaspora. In Waxbill / The Death of David Oluwale, the word ‘shaky bridges’ between the black-rumped Waxbill and David Oluwale, whose death at the hands of two Leeds police officers marks the first time British police officers have been successfully prosecuted for their involvement in the death of ‘a black. “2. The collective for a group of them, is a quake;/ 3. A quake:/ • David Oluwale in the hull of the SS Temple Bar.”

After the connection is established, the lines before it acquire an ominous shade. Now, the issue of conservation, designation “not a species conservation objective.” / They are not considered threatened” applies to the way European and North American societies and institutions perceive black people.

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The posthumous collection of Patrick Lane, The calm in me (Harbour Publishing, 64 pages, $19), holds in its gaze the imminent death of the poet-speaker.

The collection was edited and presented by Victorian poet Lorna Crozier, Lane’s longtime wife. Her introduction is a moving contextualization of Lane’s public legacy and the intimacy of their partnership. These poems, and the process of editing them, she writes, became the “final dialogue about the poetry we would have, her voice in the poems spanning the months of her absence”.

In these poems, Lane inhabits the porous boundary between life and death. In the title poem, for example, the speaker anticipates his death in the context of how he lived his life. The sense of peace is carried throughout the poem by Lane’s use of the long line and its deliberate rhythm.

The speaker finds the calm named in his title by allowing his past, “lifting a body in bed and dead, and dead/his weight”, to carry over from that dead friend abroad whom he helps to climb into his wheelchair in the present. to past lovers in an anticipated future, where “in the sleep that follows love, all the arms I’ve held, the arms that will hold me”.

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Melanie Brannagan Frederiksen is a writer and critic from Winnipeg.


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