Reviews

Between the Door Posts

ARLEEN PARÉ

I like first collections of poetry. They are fresh and vulnerable and (mostly) autobiographical, like anything that happens for the first time. Like this year when I moved from Vancouver to Victoria, and I felt fresh and vulnerable and (mostly) autobiographical. (I felt scared and lonely too, but that’s another story.) Turns out Victoria is a poetry town. I’ve been to more book launches and read more poetry since arriving in Victoria than in the rest of my life combined. Recently I read two first collections of poetry, both autobiographical, fresh and vulnerable, and both finely crafted. Between the Door Posts, by Isa Milman (Ekstasis Editions), begins with a quote from Kafka (you can’t go wrong when you begin anything with a quote from Kafka): “How can one take delight in the world unless one flees to it for refuge?” Perfect for this collection, in which the first poem expresses the poet’s reluctance to join the world at all. The rabbis had to coax her: “they told me I wouldn’t remember, promised good times.” They prevailed; later she writes: “I’m here with no choice but to tell you.” This book is a poetic family memoir of Milman’s Jewish past, both gorgeous and grievous, and depicted in delicate, urgent lines. The poems are readable and revealing; the details of the past are sad and those of the future are hopeful.

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ARLEEN PARÉ

Arleen Paré has published five collections of poetry. She is a winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. She grew up in Montreal and now lives in Victoria.


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