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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Reader's Diary #133- Michael Crummey: Salvage (up to "Seven Things About Stephanie")


(Curse Amazon for changing their book cover pictures! Who needs that friggin' white frame?!)

"Salvage" according to wordnet.princeton.edu means property or goods saved from damage or destruction. "Salvage" in the context of Newfoundland, also refers to a small community of the same name. Despite the fact that Crummey is a Newfoundlander, I think it's the first definition that defines this book. Though you know how poets can be- maybe it was both.

The first poem in this collection, "Kissing The Dead: A Disclaimer", gives the warning, "Sad Book Ahead./ Poems about Loss/ Next 100 pgs." It's a little tongue in cheek. The poems yes, have a theme of loss, but there's a hope present as well. Or if not a hope, then the sense that something is at least being salvaged.

"Undone" is quite a risque poem. From what I can tell, it's about a case of S & M. The woman requests to be bound and wants the man to take control. He does and towards the end, he's the one needing comfort. It ends with the line "A slow heat rising from/ her skin where she touched him,/like the sun/about to come up." I love the new understanding in the poem and the optimism in the final image. Again, something has been salvaged.

I'm loving these poems so far. Especially great are images that I can only describe as surreal:

- "It traveled in his blood like blooms/ of silt stirred from a river bottom."

- "...flames fingering/ each naked spine..."

and a personal favourite...

- "The dark church leans over the street/ like a face watching a spider at work"

Sometimes poetry is just so dang good.

2 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

sometimes poetry makes me feel unintelligable

John Mutford said...

Me too! But that's part of its appeal for me. Sort of like acid without the illegalities.