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Against the Hard Angle 

Matt Robinson (ECW)

This fourth collection from Halifax-based Robinson is divided into two sections, "What the Rest of Us Would Call Falling" and "Toeing the Slack-Roped Narrows." The first half then divides into three parts and the first of those, "Against the Hard Angle," won the Malahat Review long poem contest in 2009. All this dividing and subdividing of the external reflects a problem with the internal: walls remain standing to separate the reader from the writer, his experience. The metaphors (tools, the kitchen sink, utensils, spoiled milk and so on) hint at a house divided, a measure of a relationship's end, but they don't resolve as ideas, emotions. They remain, more than anything, images not quite fully illuminated, written with a deadened tone. The second half livens the book with a series of lyric poems on reconciling with home, landmarks such as the bridges, Public Gardens, grain elevators, and particularly the organized chaos we all live with in our city.

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Vol 26, No 25
November 15, 2018

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