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Topic: Dean Steadman

New Tricks for Old Dogs: Méira Cook’s Monologue Dogs

The poems in Méira Cook’s fifth poetry collection, Monologue Dogs, give voice to a variety of well-known fictional and historical figures. Interestingly though, the monologues delivered by these familiar figures work to defamiliarize them. As a result we are made to experience their significance anew. Renewal and recovery are underlying themes in this volume, which in every line demonstrate the mind’s capacity to view the world in a fresh and meaningful way. This thematic interest is established early in the opening series of monologues when Young Eve, expelled from Eden, realizes the indifference of the world now surrounding her — “You’ll find sympathy / in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.” It’s a world that has lost its paradisal splendour: “We needed a garden or the idea of a garden, / an annihilating, green-shaped thought / to cast some shade.” Monologue Dogs is Cook’s response to this fundamental need, a need that extends beyond archetypal Eve to the core of the human psyche.