Invisible Lines


In Astrid van der Pol’s new first collection, Invisible Lines (BuschekBooks), the past is the most hopeful, whereas each new future enters some form of sadness. The poems, set in the chronology of her childhood, reveal her life as the much-travelled daughter of an international teacher. Strangers in airports remark that she and her sister “don’t know how lucky they are / to have seen so much at a young age.” But nothing is as simple as that. Van der Pol laments the loss of childhood innocence as she grows into the meaning of the colour of her skin. Invisible lines begin to surround her as she moves from one country to another, and as her family comes undone. The author weaves repeated images (the names of friends, games, the places she has lived, colours—particularly green) into this cycle of poems. In spare and careful lines she traces herself through these names and images so that her life begins to hold together, as though she is healing the distances that stretch before her. “Permit the green silk scarf I buy / to be an invisible ribbon taken to the future . . . / Let the silk scarf be a ribbon of protection.”

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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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