Twenty-Five. Emily Izsak. above/ground press. Ottawa, Ontario. 2018.
Twenty-Five is one interesting little kettle of smart fish. Emily Izsak currently lives in London, Ontario (where Today's book of poetry was born, just saying), and as such counts Tom Cull and Blair Trewartha among her friends. Our regular readers will recognize their names as having appeared in Today's book of poetry. You can see our take on those two gentlemen here:
Tom Cull/What the Badger Saw
Tom Cull/Bad Animals
Blair Trewartha/Easy Fix
Blair Trewartha/Porcupine Burning
The reason Today's book of poetry mentions London's Cull and Trewartha in the same breath is that Izsak has some of the same quick light in Twenty-Five and Today's book of poetry was wondering "what's in the water?" All of this to clumsily say that just like Cull and Trewartha, Today's book of poetry is hard struck and happy reading Emily Iszak's poetry. It burns.
Cyclists binge on round gimmicks
mash their crabmeat
The matter of sole or psychomotor
is off topic
better to question which reflex
sits madonna sidesaddle
in a liminal bike lane
the decade's accent
slackens and be
Twenty-Five is one long poem and Today's book of poetry is just offering up snippets for your digestion. Today's book of poetry believes Twenty-Five is a love poem for Ariel. Today's book of poetry thinks Twenty-Five is taking the current cultural temperature from ground zero and with the patience of William Carlos Williams. Today's book of poetry isn't exactly sure what is happening in Twenty-Five but we were constantly jolted, prodded, disassembled, shuffled, intrigued.
Maybe this is one long autobiographical confession delivered by a modern day hipster scat singer. All Today's book of poetry knows is that "heaven's breadbox is empty." Izsak has some wicked chops.
A semi- modest defense
for inaccessible manpower
outlasts the downdraft if push come to push harder
A volunteer cocktease
tells him please
braid famine into updos
for a spot
in the anthology
Our morning read started with a question that Today's book of poetry will share with you readers. Does anyone know how to contact Robert Jutras, author of Looncalls? Today's book of poetry returned home a few days ago to find a copy of Mr. Jutras's lovely book between our doors but nary a note or card. Today's book of poetry wants to thank either Mr. Jutras himself (or whomever else was kind enough to leave us Looncalls between the doors.
Emily Izsak's Twenty-Five continues the long running tradition of Ottawa's rob mclennan and his proliferate above/ground press - of finding the very best poetry available in Canada and beyond.
Izsak has a Fran Lebowitz smart to her swagger and a Sue Goyette eye. Our actual morning read was a bit like over stuffing a pinball machine and it lighting up and spitting us around the room with haste. Twenty-Five doesn't waste one second of time, it shouts itself out in Tommy-gun bursts.
By the ruins of contemporary themes
under the cheek of a limp
pioneer gowned in
faith-based weather Beyond WCW's
use of prepositions standing and fallen
Now the offer tomorrow
the in-laws flense our history
And Emily Izsak sent Today's book of poetry to our living dictionary, in our case it is Max, our Senior Editor. Knocked on Max's door and heard grumbling from within. I don't think I've actually seen Max for several months, when the door opened a funky green slumber of smoke pushed into the rest of the office. Of course Max knew what "flense" meant. He was insulted that the rest of us didn't.
So when I went back to reread Izsaks line:
the in-laws flense our history"
I did the poetry glee dance. Today's book of poetry loves to be amused and we love to learn. Emily Izsak did both, at least Twenty-Five times.
Twenty Five is yet another above/ground press chapbook that you really should read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOREmily Izsak’s poetry has been published in Arc Poetry Magazine, The Puritan, House Organ, Cough, The Steel Chisel, The Doris, and The Hart House Review. In 2014 she was selected as PEN Canada’s New Voices Award nominee. Her chapbook, Stickup, was published in 2015, and her first full-length collection, Whistle Stops: A Locomotive Serial Poem, was published by Signature Editions in April 2017.
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