Subtitled “Four Essays,” Klara du Plessis’s new chapbook Unfurl has a deceptively simple-sounding premise, which she outlines in a short and informal “introduction”: “Un-furl is a negation with a generative definition. The word’s semantic growth is so strong that its prefix denoting absence is satiated, incorporated, and reinvigorated into verdure.” There is no single focus in the collection. Instead, Unfurl explores and celebrates the fluidity of language and “how poems go together, enter into dialogue with one another, rub up against one another, contrast and scratch at one another as they draw on an archive of an individual’s reading practice become writing.” It is less a formal critical analysis of four collections by four different Canadian poets—Erin Moure, Dionne Brand, Lisa Robertson, and Anne Carson—than it is a meditation and a fascination with freeing contemporary poetics from “corseting language,” as Erin Moure puts it.
Killdeer is poised for a hat trick: it’s won the Governor General’s Award for poetry and is a finalist for the Griffin Prize and the Ontario Trillium Book Award. That amount of acclaim shifts the lens of the review from standard to panoramic. It becomes somewhat of a given that a book with so much […]