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Pickle Me This

June 26, 2006

The Octopus

Last night’s insomnia was brought to you by Jennica Harper’s The Octopus and Other Poems, which was the most compelling collection of poetry I’ve ever encountered. Now, seeing as I have never read this book, it was technically illegal under the rules of The Great Summer Rereading Project, but I thought I could do with a poem or two before bed. Was not meant to go to plan. It was a poem or ten, and then they swam around in my head after that, well into early morn. I would recommend this book to anyone. In fact, I would encourage you to buy it. From “Favourite” she writes: Your mother sits with you/ on a piano bench. You are five;/ you would rather be writing/ words in the evening/ air with a sparkler. Could you imagine line breaks more perfectly? The long poem “The Octopus” is itself particularly exquisite and you can read an excerpt at the first link.

Further, rereading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting has become particularly enjoyable. It’s one of those books, like Carol Shields’ Unless, that I approach years later, more focussed and serious about writing than I ever was before, and it becomes clear that the book was all about writing anyway. The book is far too reaching to be summed up at all; somehow one revelation just leads to another. But it’s so rich and steeped in truth, and I am very glad to know it again.

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