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The Star Phoenix Reviews Lynda Monahan’s Verge

vergeIn a recent article for The Star Phoenix, Bill Robertson reviews Lynda Monahan’s Verge and Leah Horlick’s For Your Own Good: two collections in which poets write about “getting past traumas in their lives and moving into healing and acceptance.”

In his discussion of Verge, Robertson draws parallels between the poet herself and the metaphor of the fox which reappears throughout the collection and “attempts to swim across a river, either to escape or explore new territory.” He explains that in Verge 3, the speaker asks: “what is it holds you there/lingering on that verge/what is it keeps you/from finding the other side,” just as Monahan lingers on the verge in her actual life:

“for Monahan, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, she is talking to herself and knows part of what holds her is duty, fear, various senses of responsibility, and basic inertia.”

Robertson explains how the metaphor of the verge, to which both the fox and the speaker keep returning, unfolds thematically in the collection:

“Monahan tells of a life that threads carefully between small joys, dark memories, and very real fears based on abuses in the past and threats in the present.”

Furthermore, he stresses the importance of location in the collection, which focuses the poems and grounds the speaker as she learns to move past trauma:

“Monahan gets full marks for locating her work in a very definite place: she is of Prince Albert, the Nisbet Forest around parts of it, and the north beyond. Whether it’s her father’s hunting trips, her mother’s garden, the woods beyond the house in which she grew up, or very much living the rural life in all four seasons, her area of the country both grounds her and helps her get over the traumas she has suffered.”

He explains that Monahan strikes a balance in the collection between “these poems of locating, as well as the ones in which Monahan accepts and grows comfortable with herself as a full-feeling woman… [and] the poems of fear, foreboding, and darkness in the past.”

Lynda Monahan’s Verge was published by Guernica Editions in Spring 2015.

Posted in Poetry, Reviews.

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