Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Proof - Larissa Andrusyshyn (Punchy Poetry/DC Books)

Today's book of poetry:
Proof.  Larissa Andrusyshyn.  Punchy Poetry/DC Books.  Montreal, Quebec.  2014.


Today's book of poetry hasn't seen Larissa Andrusyshyn's first book, Mammoth (DC Books, 2010), but we are sure going to be looking for it now.

Proof caused all sorts of havoc around the office this morning.  Milo actually read two of Andrusyshyn's poems out loud for the rest of us to hear, a real first, but even more surprising was that Milo followed the reading with a smile.  Another first.  Sad makes Milo happy, go figure.

These poems tend to be quick as a first kiss, sudden as a hornet's mad hello.  Andrusyshyn gets full marks for making the reader feel that candy-coated warmth from a rosy first kiss and then she does the other -- the sting.

Self Portrait

I'm tired of the book shelves,
the stacks I never get to.
The typewriter, with the dry ribbon
I didn't replace.

I get my bearings in detritus.
There was no catastrophe,
just slow erosion.

When I've unwound it all, stretched the skin
of my life out, it'll shrink back to a small strip,
dry out and blow like dust.

I keep looking back, twenty, ten, two,
years ago.

If give the choice,
what if I were there?

Back as the shore
of a previous me, drifting close.

...

Milo has taken the line "Back at the shore of a previous me, drifting close" as his new motto, theme song and potential tattoo.

Andrusyshyn would have us believe that the world can be explained through entomology and mathematics and then she proceeds to provide engaging and convincing examples of her theory, all working towards Proof.  These are sweet and enchanting poems with the right amount of venom and malice.

Proof is one of those books of poems that you roll through while reading quickly, constantly muttering to yourself "yes", "of course", "perfect".

Supernova

We are made of star stuff
--Carl Sagan

The iron in your blood
once burned at the core
of a distant star.

You and I are three explosions--
calcium, carbon, magnesium,
expelled at the speed of light.

We are built
and we separate
in turbulence.

We are elemental--
peering through telescopes
at all that we don't know--
Plasma held together by its own gravity, a star
is creation and death.

Granny sweaters and haircuts replace
the old you. Pixilated remnants
of a changing world.

One burst and the foundations
of planets and bodies and sand are laid.

bone and blood--
what we call
              living things.
And dust, does it remind you of me?

...

These poems are sad and tender like the end of summer and sneaky like that last hidden spider who has moved to an indoor universe.  Larissa Andrusyshyn is a less-is-more poet and has clearly found her stride.  These poems are solid and ring strong with her confident voice.

These poems are that spider you step on as it walks across your autumn kitchen floor, the spider you step on that breaks open like a spent blister, breaks open like a pinata and sends hundreds of bright red spiderlings cartwheeling to every nook and cranny of the room like a crimson spinning wheel.

You won't get it out of your system any time soon.

Earworm

In a cluttered room you call me by the wrong name.
You are most endangered, a dainty bone in the jaw of
a yellow bird. I had wanted to catch your eye. It's open mic
night and the comedians are talking over each other. The
man with his hand in my hair whispers "you're as cold as
the tundra."  I take whiskey and write my name on all the
coasters like a chorus i can sing to myself over and over.

...

Today's book of poetry liked the pace of Proof, loved the poems.  We liked how it walked right to the middle of the room and made Milo smile.  No small feat.


Larissa Andrusyshyn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Larissa Andrusyshyn’s first book Mammoth (DC Books 2010) was shortlisted for the QWF First Book Prize and the Kobzar Literary Award. Her poems have been shortlisted for Arc Magazine’s Poem of the Year and the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award. She works withsys a local non-profit to offer creative writing workshops to at-risk youth. She lives, writes and is planning her zombie apocalypse survival strategy in Montreal.



Larissa Andrusyshyn
Poetry from Pain
video: Montreal Gazette Videos

dcbooks.ca

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