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Summer Grass
Brick Books, 1992

Summer Grass, 1992

Summer Grass
Published by Brick Books
431 Boler Road, Box 20081,
London, Ontario, Canada  N6K 4G6
*Order Info: Kitty Lewis, General Manager
Tel: 519-657-8579 (brick.books@sympatico.ca)
11.7 x 22.2 cm, 80 pages, ISBN 0-919626-59-9, $10.95, 1992
Table of Contents
*This book is now out of print.

Especially in the first of its two movements, Summer Grass maps 'County Dire,' a province of the calamitous globe in our time. But Marianne Bluger is also writing from a happy marriage and about the dear particulars that ground the life she lives on Clarendon Avenue in Ottawa. In the second movement, the 'midnight gravities' are woven with 'ribbons of love.' In the distinctive ecology of Marianne Bluger's poetic resources, her often minute (haiku) particulars are anything but touches of local colour; they are drawn into a dance which rhymes the various orders of creation. Is the world fallen? Yes, say these poems; but they behave otherwise.

Imagery as strong as painting: Some of the poems in this fine collection put me in mind of Mary Pratt's paintings. The Salmon, for example, is a meditation on the domestic reality of women's lives, the vivid corporeality of a dead or dying creature in one's kitchen that will be transformed by loving labor into the stuff of life for a cherished partner or child. This book is comprised of two texts, The Midnight Gravities and Into the Open. The first text is a contemplation of evil, which the poetic voice "pleat(s)" into the art from the "poor stuff" of her heart. Here is Alice, not in Wonderland, but eased from her "fresh frock" by a Dodgson who beckons her with his "toad-knobbed cane" to pose before the claret draperies, the camera waiting to defile her. Inarticulations is a witness to the "children of the yellow star" and the utter failure of so-called Christian civilization to refuse the wicked tribute demanded by the fascists, while In October is a lament for murdered women whose "upturned hands" are like "fragile sparrow corpses." The second half of the collection explores the intersections of nature and the knowing of love. A dying father speaks to his wife, "your face . . . like the moon," and the daughter grasps the love they remember. The collection ends with a heady poem, bringing to the beloved a shared life of memories "sewn for you / hand edged in purple" from "the sky we drank in once / over Carp Ridge."

(From a review by Patricia Whitney, School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University, printed in The Ottawa Citizen, 1993.)


Selections from Summer Grass:
The End of the Absolute       The Midnight Gravities
The Ancestors       When You were Gone to the Gulf
How We Are Judged by the Sun

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