[see part one of my notes here] Here’s another accounting of some of the titles I picked
up at the most recent fair in Toronto!
the moment Ken Norris met ryan fitzpatrick
Toronto ON: I’m fascinated by the debut chapbook by Toronto-based poet Lannii Layke, their Os (knife|fork|book, 2022), a gracefully-sleek collection of exploratory poems. There is an intriguing narrative layering to Layke’s lines, offering line upon line upon fragment, a hush, and a halt. Their author biography at the end of the collection offers a couple of intriguing details: “They attend to crafting memory and fine jewellery. In French, os is bone.” The poems here are crafted but not precious: precise, and deft in their resolve, offering eight first-person poems that seek, seek out. “we have those secrets that stick us,” the poem “Sister” offers, “like our / talk and hate and / waxing piss onto our man [.]” There is such graceful, absolute beauty in Layke’s searchings, one that sparkles not just through discovery, but revealing and remarking upon what was already known.
factors in the cloning of plums
The rib of plum
in the posture of plum line a smaller Sweat
is that same salt collecting so
Toronto ON: There’s a wonderful sense of play and language across the nine poems of Peterborough writer Janette Platana’s chapbook New Fairious (Anstruther Press, 2023), each offering short narratives, akin to character studies, to a list of alternate fairies, from “The Shame Fairy” and “The Literary Fairy” to “The Fairies Feify & Deify” and “The Truth Fairy.” “They are not twins, these two,” the poem “The Fairies Reify & Deify” begins, “but reciprocating parasites who // rfuse to play host. / Yet each outstrips the other // in unxious luxury.” There’s a delight of sound and meaning through her word choises throughout these poems, offering an unexpected richness line by line by narrative line, all of which rolls along into a sequence of impossibility. How Platana is a writer I hadn’t heard of previously, although her author biography offers that her short story collection, A Token of My Affliction (Toronto ON: Tightrope Books, 2014), “was a Finalist for the Ontario Trillium Book Award.” Oh, how I wish to see more poems by Janette Platana.
The Shame Fairy
Her dust encauls you in nausea.
Until the ignosecond of
you did not even know
She was a thing. Now, you are filled
with Her shitty gift. Now, you bob
inside Her gassy bubble
like you are the grinning bonhomme
in one of those oversized inflatable snow globes
in the parking lot of the biggest big box store
when your anchor cable has sprung
and you bounce between parked cars,
legless, footless, as well as entrapped,
indignant and indistinguishable
from bottom blog.
It would be funny if it weren’t forever.