Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cut Up Apologetic - Jamie Sharpe (ECW Press/A Misfit Book)

Today's book of poetry:
Cut Up Apologetic.  Jamie Sharpe.  ECW Press/A Misfit Book.  Toronto, Ontario.  2015.

Today's book of poetry gets the impression that Jamie Sharpe may not be wired like the rest of us.   His ideas come faster than a twenty person snowball fight with nineteen people on the other team.

Most of us think "light-bulb" ideas.  Sharpe comes up with "mirror-ball" ideas.  The inside of his head is like a ballroom with shards of light constantly spiking into new corners of the room, then like the wizard sorceror he appears to be, Sharpe spews light into the corners of our minds, corners that were previously dark.

Back in July, 2013, Today's book of poetry had the pleasure of reading/blogging about Sharpe's Animal Husbandry Today, his excellent first book.  Cut Up Apologetic is more of the same brilliant lunatic assemblage.  Except that these poems are tighter, just slightly more crisp, and that is an unexpected delight.

One Metre Diet

Birch leaves are delicious:
add truffle oil.

Your lawn's delicious:
add truffle oil.

Pine needles are delicious
soaked in vodka.

Give thanks: life offers
simple, abundant pleasures.

Take any local green
then fatten with foreign nectar.

          Translate me,
          Charles Simic.

          Transform my
          sour, green lines.


One of the things my minions like to see is me in a good mood.  Jamie Sharpe poems are a great step in that general direction so things are smooth in the office this morning.  I haven't had to rip a yard off of anyone yet.

Reading Cut Up Apologetic is like watching television while someone else has the remote -- and they are skipping through channels with glee and somehow it turns into an orchestrated concert with a start, middle and ending, coda included.  Just when you recognize the road you are on Sharpe changes the channel so that you arrive at a totally unexpected yet appropriate destination.

This is a good trick to know.

Because It Ties In
With The Throw Pillows

There is a potential for immediacy
in painting not readily found in poetry.

Walk through a museum, viewing

     Which did you like?
     Monet's lily pads were glorious.

Won't read three hundred
poems this lifetime.

The prefab art section at Linens N Things
permeates our lives.

I'm jealous; I want my sestina
above your couch.


Today's book of poetry let the minions pick today's poems knowing full well they could not go wrong.  Jamie Sharpe's second book of poems is confirmation of what we all thought when reading Animal Husbandry Today,
Cut Up Apologetic is cherse.

We can't wait to see what he gets up to next.

Segues: In Search Of An Expansive,
Finely Tuned Conception Of Vocation


A hummingbird
is a bird able to hover

but the Peruvian ridged hummingbird
has to maintain forward momentum

and the Arctic plover (not a hummingbird)
can suspend itself in mid-air.


I teach at an ESL summer camp
where one activity is go-karting.

At the racetrack I stand the gaggle
of foreign teenagers beside the Rules Board
(that they can't read)

and give a safety talk
(they can't understand)

I then point to the track
where carnage will ensure and say,
Let's make some poetry out there.


Jamie Sharpe has very quickly become one of Today's book of poetry's favourite poets to pull out of a hat, "Here! Read this!" I say, grinning like Hell.

Jamie Sharpe

Jamie Sharpe is the author of Animal Husbandry Today (ECW, 2012). He lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Here is an excellent profile of Jamie Sharpe from Open Book Toronto:


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.

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