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Monday, February 05, 2007

Reader's Diary #227- Julie Bruck: The Woman Downstairs (FINISHED)

The other day I was listening to Johnny Cash do a rendition of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (the George Jones standard). It hadn't occurred to me until then how perfect of a country song it was. Now, I'm not a huge country fan by any means. In fact, I'm probably more discriminatory with my tastes in that genre than any other. My favourites have misleadingly simple stories set in the everyday, blue collar life with just a dash of poetry. Unfortunately, what we usually get today is a bunch of cliches that would embarrass MeatLoaf.

Why all this talk about country music? Julie Bruck's A Woman Downstairs reminded me of good country music. Most of the poems can be enjoyed as small snippets of stories, stories of everyday life. Actually, more like the minimovies you might take with a digital camera. And they're real. Something about the way she throws in references to toasters, Camaros and Colonel Sanders keeps them from flying off into that dreaded poetsphere. But still, they are poetic. Beautifully so.

"On day I'll forget to unplug the block-heater,
drive away and pull the house down.
In the rear-view mirror, the mountains, sky,
the whole gourmet display
will tumble and break apart,
becoming light as confetti
thrown at a wedding,
a fistful of coloured ash"


- from Julie Bruck's "Connection"

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