Sunday, August 12, 2018

Caroline Szpak, Slinky Naïve


I watched the live action
version of Alice in Wonderland.
It came with the cereal. I grew
confused and inherited
the apartments with fistfuls

of red table grapes from each
synthetic nurse, a flyover
until I can wet the sum
like a quote. My citron a seal
of interim perspective – grain
height hysteria in tenth-grade

art you somehow grind into
a chagrin of milk illocution
until you can forecast lactic
tempers. Queue blue jays
in a sauceboat, and its still
a counterpoise.

Toronto writer Caroline Szpak’s first trade poetry title, following a small handful of poetry chapbooks, is Slinky Naïve (Vancouver BC: Anvil Press, 2018), a collection of poems constructed as narrative accumulations and odd turns. Szpak’s poems give the appearance of randomness, with line upon accumulated line until the narrative threads click, and finally reveal themselves. There is a looseness here that is quite appealing, and a series of threads that could never be anticipated, coming together brilliantly to form a collection of intriguing and even unusual poems. As she writes in the poem “BLACK MADONNA”: “a crawl in residents / that feel the water / tastes sweet may be / part pigment / edible cosmetics a loss / of emphasis fine tuning / sweat must have eyelids / like a husband a school / group sells shoddy / in that mud state .]”

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