The Al Purdy A-Frame Residency for writers holds a special place in my heart: my father and I were the first ones to enter the property once the Association decided to begin restoration. Vancouverite poet Rob Taylor’s latest poetry chapbook, The Green Waves, was conceived during his residency. Reading Taylor’s work has been so enjoyable because the setting overlaps his personal experience, my father’s, Purdy’s, and my own of being in Purdy’s second home, a characteristic property lined with bookshelves floor to ceiling that possesses a graceful beauty aged only by the silence and solitude of his passing.
Style and tradition are fostered in Erín Moure’s newest book, whose full cover title, The Elem:ents (Nam:loz), instantly engages my Derridean sensibilities. It is a book that substantially dredges up the subjective experience and objective facts of her genealogy into a compelling synthesis of her self-identity, with a poignant focus on her father’s dementia through the lens of Derrida.
John Wall Barger’s work has always been lyrical and inventive. His latest, The Mean Game, builds on these strengths, delivering an evocative and challenging book. Perhaps a little less straightforward than his previous publications, the poems in The Mean Game perform more dramatically, more surreally, and more vividly than ever before.