Dominik Parisien’s debut poetry collection, Side Effects May Include Strangers, begins by shaving away at the artifice of language, attempting to build a bridge atop the unbreachable chasm between intent and extent. Parisien’s plight for conveyance and understanding begins by unravelling the mythology of the human body into fundamentally problematic ideological patterns that are discriminatory towards physical and mental disability. In the very opening poem, “Let Us For A Moment Call This Pain By Other Words,” Parisien writes: “Ask, Can we for a moment make of Beauty / the measure of our pain? And I will answer”
Sachiko Murakami’s new collection, Render, is a complex poetic experiment in form, style, and narrative, weaving the poetics of trauma while grasping for objectivities to ground it into the concreteness of urban spaces. Throughout the book the poet borrows voices to elucidate the cycles of trauma that have scarred memory into illegibility.
Attentive to the mysteries of their worlds, the speakers in Elana Wolff’s sixth poetry collection, Swoon, incarnate the same sensual curiosity that characterized the author’s previous collection, Everything Reminds You of Something Else (Guernica, 2017). While that title announced Wolff’s penchant for allusive expression, Swoon suggests the affective experience centred in her searching, spiritual lyrics.
At first glance, A Cemetery for Holes may not attract too much attention to the intricacy of collaborative communication, but upon closer inspection a Lichtenberg pattern of trauma burns itself into the margins of each page. Tom Prime weaves a narrative of trauma as Gary Barwin’s poetry acts as a convex mirror for Prime’s distorted self-portrait.
Noor Naga’s debut novel-in-verse, Washes, Prays, is a story of unrequited love and adultery. The protagonist, Coocoo is struggling to reconcile her love affair with a married man Mohammad while her best friend Nouf offers her companionship. The lovers’ predicaments are set to music by a familiar sensuality inherent in traditional Islamic love. Naga’s careful romanticism of Islamic sensuality is characteristic of contemporary Islamic poetry which can be interpreted as a radical reaction to rampant Islamophobia in the post 9/11 English speaking world.