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The Combals are not unacquainted with death: they have never quite recovered from the loss of one of them in childhood. And now, on Valentine's Day, they are losing another. Guddy races to see her sister, Jerry and Bjarne avoid the phone and its news, Jean finds himself on a beach, and Annie fends off her mother's persistent questions about what's happening. And Therese tries to forgive them all before it's too late. As each is forced to face the news of Therese's impending death, their actions weave a nuanced portrait of a family, of the devastating reach of childhood grief.
Nominated for the 2009 Governor General's Award for Poetry.This poem resembles urban sprawl. This poem resembles the freedom to charge a fee. The fee occurs in the gaps. It is an event. It is not without precedent. It is a moment in which you pay money. It is a tribute to freedom of choice. Reality is a parking lot in Qatar. Reality is an airstrip in Malawi. Meanwhile the expressway encloses, the expressway round and around the perimeters like wagon trains circling the bonfire, all of them, guns pointed, Busby Berkeley in the night sky. Expressway exposes the paradox of modern mobility: the more roads and connections we build, the more separate we feel. Sina Queyras has written a bravely lyrical critique of our ethical and ecological imprint, a legacy easily blamed on corporations and commerce, but one we've allowed, through our tacit acquiescence, to overwhelm us. Every brush stroke, every bolt, and nut, every form and curve in our networks of oil and rubber, every thought and its material outcome - each decision can make or unmake us.
As meditative practices focus on the axis of breath, these poems focus on the moment of action, of thought, on the flux of speech.This is a poetry not of snapshots or collages but of long-exposed captures of the not-so-still lives of women. One sequence imagines Virginia Woolf's childhood; another unmakes her novel The Waves by attempting to untangle its six overlapping narratives. Yet another, 'On the Scent,' makes us flâneurs through the lives of a series of contemporary women, while 'The River Is All Thumbs' uses a palette of vibrant repetition to 'paint' a landscape.Queyras's language - astute, insistent, languorous - repeats and echoes until it becomes hypnotic, chimerical, almost halluncinatory in its reflexivity. How lyrical can prose poetry be? How closely can it mimic painting? Sculpture? Film? How do we make a moment firm? These 'postmodern,' 'postfeminist' poems pulse between prose and poetry: the line, the line, they seem to ask, must it ever end?
MxT, or 'Memory x Time,' is one of the formulas acclaimed poet Sina Queyras posits as a way to measure grief. These poems mourn the dead by turning memories over and over like an old coin, by invoking other poets, by appropriating the language of technology, of instruction, of diagram, of electrical engineering, and of elegy itself. Devastating, cheeky, allusive, hallucinatory: this is Queyras at her most powerful.
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