The Fissures of Our Throats. Edward Nixon. Guernica Editions/Essential Poetry Series 227. Toronto-Buffalo-Lancaster(UK). 2014.
Edward Nixon is rewriting the history of time in The Fissures of Our Throats. Or at least telling a pretty good yarn about an imagined journey through our past.
These poems have a unique sense of time and place and timing, and in fact may be the historical record of another dimension that closely resembles our own.
Nixon employs a beautiful vocabulary that opens up his options to something grand.
We are the benefactors.
we told stories as we ran
There was no particular that set things apart.
Ice vaporized when subjected to heat,
peaches would resist when unripe,
sarcasm worked more or less with most.
The main thing, if it can be said there was,
and it cannot be or could not then have been,
as it was not yet in our eyes like the dawn star,
when she appears proximate the moon,
or like why birds talk to the night:
meanings were not simply to be given easy.
And that was maybe like the new,
staining us with haphazard wanting.
We could have strained together, but
wonder was reserved as we deciphered,
tossed it around, argued bone, sang stone.
It came that we understood repetitive marks,
which was handy for the next part;
though some furrowed with objective worry.
You could have formed factions, but why?
We had been give the scouring wind.
When it was retold, most nodded with ease.
No one saw it all together, or mashed in one-
leaves crushed under bitter rock to make tea.
The young took time to make a theory here,
or stare at parts of the sky on a dare.
There was thought of claiming that or this,
but we'd walked from the receiving of names.
So the hunt was blood-breath in green distance,
our chatter - sound chasing after absent game.
On the plain we ran on with a dangerous joy.
Today's book of poetry is impressed by how Nixon can write a tight, almost alchemical poem and then turn around and loose the hounds.
There is humour to be found in The Fissures of Our Throats but it is not doled out lightly. Every time I try to type The Fissures of Our Throats I have to erase The Fissures of Our Hearts.
cariboo ghost town
We found the fall-down cabins
leant against a predicate.
The arrangement suggested a rough consensus,
fell in with circles and doors facing their agreement.
Now a village fraction in moss decline
quarter mile from the claim.
Gold was in the ground and much was said about it.
Reliable studies contest this scrap of turf:
A rusted-shovel Utopia?
An outpost of imperial commerce?
We see their piss-house ruin,
the wildflowered fire-pit.
grasses, tumbleweed, an alkaline pond,
milled and nailed wood in slow rot.
You write notes as I take in pictures,
argue footnotes the hour back to 100 Mile House.
At the motel room you exhale on the pillow
in a damp accent I can't recover.
There is an Ezra Pound/John Robert Columbo type cultural up-date, report on the nation, implore the future type long poem called "nights in the city of the dead" that calls on Edward Said, Albert Camus, The Demics, Osgoode Hall, Kensington Market, Boite a Chansons pretentions, Sandy Stagg, the artist co-op known as 'General Idea', the Beverley Tavern, Christ, Peter Pan, ancient railway porters, the Ritz, Marshall McLuhan, the Clash, the Virgin Birth, the Twilight Zone, Handsome Ned, Pranksters, the NFB, Garcia Lorca, the Carpathians and Comrade K before it winds its way to a merry conclusion.
Edward Nixon's brain is a literary YouTube of endlessly entertaining poetry.
film theory or i miss the way you kiss
The magical power that is attributed to taboo is based on
the capacity for arousing temptation...
- Sigmund Freud
We killed a lot of gutter,
took hectares of blank space,
chopped up the I and you.
There wasn't much between X and Y,
just a lucky line that waggled through
crisp points on a reasoned grid.
Like poison's cure,
a ready-made story arc-
as if garlands of rose petals
redecorated the script
devolving from a set of probable causes
to a lazy desire for order,
razor ribbon fencing a glade
where lutes play, the prince reclines,
IEDs pop, blood-splatter browns
the long grass.
She says: "The days tasted of almonds."
He says: "Like smoked trout on a salted cracker."
Jump-cut to credits write in jerky white:
the gun ma blonde
the car mon chum
In his first full collections of poetry Edward Nixon makes a firm case for himself. The Fissures of Our Throats is accomplished poetry, smart at every turn. Crisp.
Today's book of poetry thinks that The Fissures of Our Throats is a hell of a ride, a thoroughly enjoyable roughed up ride.
ABOUT THE AUTHOREdward Nixon was born and grew up in British Columbia. Since 1984 he has lived in Toronto and is the proud father of a 19-year-old son. Having stumbled inconclusively in the thorny woods of academe, Edward currently toils in the private sector as the founder and Managing Partner of EN Consulting Group, a boutique public outreach consultancy located at the Centre for Social Innovation in downtown Toronto. He has hosted and curated the monthly Toronto reading series Livewords since 2008. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks – Nights in the City of the Dead, Arguments for Breath, Free Translation, and Instructions for Pen and Ink. The Fissures of Our Throats is his first full collection.
"Versions of the poems in The Fissures of Our Throats have debuted in small magazines and chapbooks, at readings both public and private. It's how you know they're true - eschewing easy answers with an authenticity that's imbued with patience and experience. As such, Edward Nixon's first full collections is a rare event in Canadian letters - it's a book that's pitch perfect, singing with a fully formed voice."
- Jim Johnstone
reading "Proceed in an Orderly Fashion"
at the Art Bar Poetry Series/Clinton's Tavern
Video: Edward Nixon
Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher. They are shown here for publicity and review purposes. For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.