Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Gil Adamson as Poet

Gil Adamson is known mostly for her latest novel, The Outlander. It was one of the Canada Reads choices this year, and I have just finished it, finally getting to my turn in the library queue. During the Canada Reads debates, much was made of her writing style as "very poetic", "a poet's voice" etc. I think that was just shorthand for a writer who actually enjoys using language, whose style is as much a part of the narrative as the storyline. In any case, Adamson really is a poet as well. She has published two collections, Primitive and Ashland. Here are two poems, one from each collection (found on her website, where are there are a few more to sample if you wish)

Brother and Me

It's a mad day to run away from home, brother. Trees fall drunk in the orchard, heads swarming with bees.

Finally, the river has slapped the fields away, so no harvest, no singing, the roads all gobbled up.

Down in the city, women shoot darts, fed up with their lives, or so we’re told. They drown men, sleep in movie theatres, sing the same song over and over until someone gets murderous.

Today wind rushes the empty house, licks the dinner bell inside and out. We settle down to wait.

Our lives are not what we expected.

We eat little crisp buns under the awning and peep out at the sun, the big white fury booming around in heaven.

from Ashland


One tanned arm.

At night the road sweats.
Each restaurant
riddled with light.
I can't smell anything now
no sound in the dark halls
and I wake up
kicking sheets to the floor.

My mother always said
never forget where
you come from.
I drive deeper into
the hopeful quiet
I do my best.

These hills grow dark
the air shines.
Any hopes I once had
turn off.
Imagine that relief.

Listen for them, the babies
the bombs in the ground
shining under your car
as you pass.
Soon you won't hear
yourself thinking.

How could this be wrong?
Each mistake
all my bad dreams
crushed between my teeth.

I feel a state line
a cobweb, float by.

from Primitive

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