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A Review of Edward Nixon’s The Fissures of Our Throats in The Town Crier

fissures of our throatsJohn Nyman’s review of Edward Nixon’s The Fissures of Our Throats was recently published in The Town Crier. Here, Nyman discusses the relationship between Nixon’s subject matter and style, and elaborates on what makes his poetic blossom on the Canadian literary scene.

The Fissures of Our Throats was published by Guernica Editions in Fall 2014.

As explained by Nyman, Nixon’s work predominantly “reflect[s] on personal experience with the music, culture, and philosophy of the 1970s and ’80s youth scenes in Toronto and Vancouver.”

Nyman begins by addressing the anxieties which he first had about the collection:

“I feared the book would bury itself taking a too-familiar stance in the all-but-exhausted debate around lyric identity, its denouncement by certain postmodern avant-gardes, and the ever-contentious role of “theory.”

He explains how Nixon’s work transcends these anxieties and showcases something that is much more fluid and refreshing.

“Luckily, The Fissures of Our Throats manages something that seems increasingly rare for a book with quotations by Camus, Lacan, and Wittgenstein: it fails—decisively and quite refreshingly—to be reduced to an argument…Nixon takes the wind out of postmodernity’s hard lines, but in such a way that the resulting hollows are filled by a rush of things actually (even if not extraordinarily) lived.”

He stresses the movement in many of Nixon’s poems, as they actively work to figure things out.

“It’s a poetry that’s trying to figure things out, oscillating between conceptual essay and the mystery of material things without succumbing either to an empty acceptance of chaos or to a pat solution.”

Furthermore, Nyman comments on the influence that film has on many of Nixon’s poems.

“Nixon’s poetics is heavily influenced by film… I want most of all to call The Fissures of Our Throats a delicate exposition of mise en scène, a mutual contextualization of diverse elements through which the collection gives place to a surprising variety of experiences and ideas.”

Nevertheless, he explains that The Fissures of Our Throats “outshines its more imagistic cousins (both in cinema and in poetry) in its extension of these techniques to the interspace between the things we experience and the ways we think about those things.”

He concludes by stating:

“In Nixon’s hands, none of postmodernity’s flowers blossom without the filth of the Earth clinging to them. What finally strikes me is how much Nixon’s counterculture mirrors the after-class philosophizing and barroom poetry of my own Toronto. In spite of anyone’s ideals, both scenes have the same cloying stagnancy, the feeling that there’s something we’re not getting. Reading that absence in Nixon’s narratives of my intellectual heroes, I start to think that, finally, it’s only that misunderstanding that keeps us going.”

Posted in Poetry, Reviews.

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