been shed bore by Pearl Pirie, Chaudière Books, 2010
Review – been shed bore: Sandra Stephenson
Pearl Pirie’s new book flings ideas like shed clothes on a sunny Sunday. Flashing, panning and sizzling, a richness of words and density of image, layered without the distractions of prefab (eg. articles, pronouns, even preposterous prepositions) are like deep red velvet. In fact, the parallels between the dress Pearl wore, the trebuchet she used to toss applause to the audience so we threw our hands into the air with glee, and the poetry she read made for a seemless [sic] sleek rich experience.
In her plunderverse readings, Pearl read the originals from the authors she’d plundered, and showed them up with deeper, richer, more comprehensible versions of their own poems stood upside down, backwards and coloured in. I thought the presentation of the original poem in two cases was an unfortunate choice, though it was a privilege attendees of the book launch had over readers of the book, since the originals are not in the book. Pearl’s poems stand on their own entirely, and it’s really a matter of interest in craft rather than artistic expression that validates the reading of the original. I thought it led to a distracting tendency on my part to compare the two versions, which diminished the effect of the new poem. This was the only picky-person flaw in the entire evening of Pearl’s reading, however, and I include it only because critiques are supposed to have some edge and not just lavish and revel.
The book itself is lovely, with a painstaking list of acknowledgements at the back (no predictable capitals, thanks), and that, of course, is where everyone turns first, right?
A slim, elegant volume, just short of the right length in true connaisseuse fashion – the expression in French, “laissé sur sa faim.” Totally unique, quietly assertive and assured, circumspect, funny, contemporary and strikingly wise, Pearl’s trademark is her unpredictability and at the same time her consistency. A perfect choice for Chaudière Books.
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