Today's book of poetry: The Hottest Summer in Recorded History. Elizabeth Bachinsky. Nightwood Editions. Gibons, B.C.. 2013.
Reading Elizabeth Bachinsky's rollicking frolic of a collection The Hottest Summer in Recorded History is a bit like having an exciting conversation with someone new, someone you are hoping will become a friend. Bachinsky has an old crone's wisdom and a hipster lens as she pistol whips any pretensions the reader might have.
This Nightwood Editions book was designed by Carleton Wilson and looks both very old and totally modern, ultimately a very attractive book. The poems are equally attractive. Some are riffs, some laments, some lists. Bachinsky is not shackled by structure or formality, she embraces humour and eroticism with a welcome playfulness that never undermines the serious poet underneath.
Sleeping With Jane
for Thomas Ziorjen
Florence couldn't remember much because she had Alzheimer's
disease, so she moved into her daughter Jane's house - the house
her daughter shared with the son-in-law Florence had traditionally
disliked a great deal. Now she didn't know him and that felt better.
She didn't know the children, either. She thought the family bunny,
Spot, was a cat. Florence said, "What are you going to call that cat?"
"It's a bunny," her grandson said. "Bunny, That's a good name,"
Florence said. "It looks just like a bunny." The son-in-law, a stay-
at-home dad, looked after Florence during the day. "Who is that
man?" she asked her daughter one night. "I don't know him,
but he makes a lovely breakfast and I think he's sleeping with Jane."
This is Bachinsky's fifth book of poetry. Earlier books have been nominated for both the Pat Lowther Award and the Governor General's Award for Poetry. The Hottest Summer in Recorded History continues Bachinsky's excellent march. Her poems are an entertaining pleasure, they are without pretence and they are provocative.
One of Bachinsky's poems, The Mountain, appears in a chapbook edited by Jason Camlot for Synapse Press in Montreal called After The Mountain, The A.M. Klein Reboot Project. I was tickled to be included in the same short collection when it appeared. Now - it's just like bragging. And I'm fine with that, pleased to be in such fine company.
Take a look for this book, no way you'd regret it.