Monday, November 12, 2007

Shuffle 29, i
Pearl Pirie

you’re a summer

watch the fold-hearted pleasure

in song-shade, listen in

again hear the taste lines showing
a red
to family lines
yours is to bring tears
At the ryan fitzpatrick/Natalie Walshots/William Neil Scott reading, I got a lovely little surprise from Ottawa poet Pearl Pirie. She handed me a copy of There are Better Ways to Go than by Aspartame, a handmade chapbook she produced for the Ottawa Small Press Bookfair. She wrote my name in pencil on the top corner.

It was nice to be reminded why I love the bookfair so much. “Shuffle 29” is a serial poem that appears to be pluderverse of a larger project (am I right?). Basically, the seven poems in the “Shuffle” are light-hearted and elastic, showing the telltale grammatical hopscotch of the genre. A treat.

(Don’t expect to get handed ephemera all the time or anything, but the fitzpatrick reading was the first of the AB Reading Series (videotaped by Warren Dean Fulton) at City Hall. Great venue. The next AB event is at the Avant-Garde Bar on Nov 14, featuring Edmonton’s Brea Burton and Jill Hartman.)

Pearl’s poems reminded me a bit of Jennifer Mulligan’s electric “eight words” from her above/ground press chapbook …like nailing jello to a tree…

from eight words

when departing
work feels
something similar
to a question
the bowler and
his stories
with energy
are on my calendar

you question
my calendar
not matching the stories
of the work and the
nothing similar
for the bowler
with the same energy

Pirie’s chap and Mulligan’s have a lot in common. Both women are irregulars at local readings and it’s clear they’ve absorbed a lot. Both jello and Aspartame tackle a range of poetic forms, choosing to eschew consistent tone for reader surprise. Yeah, hmm. And they're both named after mod 70s iconic foods.

Oh, another thing. I noticed U of O English grad Jeff Fry is back in town! I haven’t seen him at any readings yet (no, mostly just waiting for buses on Bank St) but hopefully we will soon. Another poet my age! Rock on. When will we see more from Fry?

Halifax Bomber crash, 1942
Jeff Fry

Kinder, steht auf! Steht auf!

and we ran out to witness
a wing span wider than a house
flaming in the woods.

The blaze roared so hard for air
it made a sucking wind
the woods craned with, and whined;

metal chunks gouged through trunks,
the resin in the pine needles fried,
odorous like burning hair,

and I could imagine being there:
even the teeth rooted in my skull
scorched all to powder,

and all my glabrous girl skin
inside this nightslip
slide off onto the molten floor,

and all these muscles and guts
burn to black charcoal, dust.
This process, somehow,

taking all eternity.

-from the Bywords Quarterly Journal Volume 4 Number 1 (Spring 2006)