Monday, April 22, 2013

Ignite - Rona Shaffran

Today's book of poetry:  Ignite.  Rona Shaffran.  Signature Editions.  Winnipeg.  2013

An admission, I saw this book as a manuscript/work in progress.  Luckily, for us, the reader, so did:  John Barton, Karen Connelly, Carolyn Forche, Daphne Marlatt, Susan McMaster, Stuart Ross, Olive Senior, D.M. Thomas and Jan Zwicky.  Rona Shaffran is that very rare poet who seeks out the advice of others and then actually uses it.  The evidence is here.

The book I saw has vanished and in its' place Shaffran presents us this highly polished gem.  Ignite.

The book starts with poems of a quiet desperation, a middle-aged woman's angst over the loss of love as a romantic or platonic pastime.  The resolution of which is solved by poems that luxuriate in the ribald pleasure of lust as the relationship is brought back to fiery life.

Rona Shaffran is fearless and these pages blister with rekindled passion as Shaffran builds tension out of touch.

At The Window

A middle-aged couple, we gaze out
our living room window,

my face pressed
against the cool pane.

You tenderize
my earlobe,

hike up my skirt, drop it down
over our hips

and slide into me.

Once again, nerve endings shiver
all through my body

as two silver shadows

across the vinyl siding
of the house next door.


Shaffran is wantonly wicked at times but always in full control of her precise language.  This books almost shudders in your hands as physical love and emotional passion are entwined.  This book is never tawdry, but it certainly is robust.  On these pages the horny Erica Jong battles it out with the contemplative Slyvia Plath on an erotic playground until Shaffran has reached an emotionally satisfying conclusion.

This is a stunning first book full of strong poems.

Check out:  to see more of Rona


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