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Donna Kane Reviews Lynda Monahan’s “Verge”

vergeIn a recent article for The Malahat Review, Donna Kane reviewed Guernica author Lynda Monahan’s collection of poetry, Verge. The poems in Verge are guided by a fox who serves as the narrator’s spirit animal, “its wiser voice guiding her through her past and out ‘the other side’”. Kane begins by describing the compelling structure of Verge, “each of the ten sections of the book begins with a verse in the spirit fox voice followed by poems that recount the narrator’s losses and changes”. Noting the dually gentle and visceral styles of the poems in Monahan’s collection, Kane states “the use of these two varying styles often raised the question of why we read poetry”. Kane explains that Monahan’s poems occasionally answer this question, pointing to “Verge 5” which describes the longing for a more peaceful way of being:

you came to me
curious about this woman
wandering your forest
with her bucket of blueberries

a snap of twig
and I looked up
surprised to see you there

and you were a frenzy of beauty
then suddenly gone
but in that one bright instant
we recognized ourselves
we knew each other’s names…

Kane states that Monahan’s ability to respond to the dichotomy of gentleness and catharsis that is so central to poetry places her alongside the writers of “the best poems”, in which “the language is inventive; the narrative is thought provoking; the author’s use of image, rhythm, and thought are giving rise to something greater than the words on the page”.

The collection of poems in Verge begins with a fox waiting at the river’s edge, symbolizing a woman at a turning point in her life. The fox and the woman wander through the poems of the collection, which reflect on the “cold yesterday” of childhood, eventually moving through various changes and losses in her life.

Lynda Monahan is a resident of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. She is the author of two other collections of poetry, Slow Dance in the Flames and What My Body Knows. Besides writing, she also facilitates a number of creative writing workshops. She is currently the writer-in-residence at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

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