Review: Lemon Hound

October 12, 2007

Another very positive review for The Rush to Here, this time from the US, and forwarded to me by a friend. (Excerpt below). After last week’s trip to Chicago and Manhattan to read, I was somewhat surprised and very pleased to come home with a few more course list placements for the book. It seems prof-types really get off on the use of concepts in place of sounds for fulfilling the rhyme obligations of the sonnet. It allows students access to the mechanics of the form while reading in their own vernacular. Plus, they seem to like the poems themselves. (One such academic writes: “your book, which I’ve been reading, is kicking my ass. Come spring, know that you’re officially on the syllabus.” I like professors who talk like that.) Lemon Hound seems more interested in the emotional quality of the poetry, which is a nice contrast to those impressed with the technical fun.

George Murray, in his latest book, just out with Nightwood, and a much more emotionally engaging and present book than his earlier two with M&S, soars.

Perhaps this is a poet coming into his own, a poet back in Canada, a poet settling into poetry, but there is more lightness here, more range, and a directness of voice–clear the speaker, clear the audience, that line, very direct. These are companionable poems. Mind, they aren’t a perfect companion for this poet, but I can certainly recognize their companionability and further, can imagine them being carried around and dogeared. For this poet, that is the ultimate compliment.

What makes this poetry interesting to me, aside from its formal concerns, is its willingness to wonder about the human condition, not simply to describe, or tell (more on this as I work on an essay on lyric, Jan Zwicky and Anne Simpson). I can go far with any voice that creates a space for me in a poem, a poet that invites me into their world (world that rings true). I grow so weary of the faux revelations in poetry, the earnest tone that mocks sincerity. There’s none of that here.

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