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vertigoheel for the dilly, a fantastical Canadian poetry read.


Byline: Reprint from Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: vertigoheel for the dilly

Author: Pearl Pirie

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2014

Page Count: 20


vertigoheel for the dilly is a fantastical Chapbook by Pearl Pirie that is a revelation of the Canadian fascist undertoad of the New Age. Poet Pirie has published 2 books of poetry with a third volume coming from BookThug in 2015. She lives in Ottawa and has launched chapbooks, blogs, a micro press and is a radio host, occasionally teaching poetry workshops.

As if howlin’ and howlin’ big at the moon, the enigmatic often dislocated wordscapes present a game, to see behind the curtain, what is being said, not said, what is happening, not happening, a truncated presentation, of the life and times in 21st century N.A. The seemingly disembodied thoughts brought together for a couple of lines, a free flowing Zen of creativity and landscape within very broken places.

The themes presented include ill health/growing old, the state of the ecology/the 21st century, a missing father, sex and conflicted love lives.

“polyps in the colon complement the diverticulosis./ a sort of spilled lego in the digestion.”

“Living La Vida Ibuprofen. Neutral sparrows/ are not imbued with mites.”

and the long poem goes on to mention the ecology of the oceans,

“the seas are emptying, the only choice left/ is the fish in the barrel. breed, fish, breed.”

About ¾ of the way through the long poem there is presentation of a missing father:

“the poem takes the sidewalk chalk “welcome home dad”/ powerwashes off the “wel”, or adds a chalk outline of a child.”

“in the market, rows of bouquets/ father is gone, doesn’t care which colour.”

In the background as if in dialogue with the Reader is the unfolding of a story of conflicted love perhaps the product poetry the manifestation of an underground war. It begins slowly,

"it's as romantic as the attachment of a couple's/ cuddle-bed-sores, growing into one scab."

“for all its 7,200 square kilometers it’s a small country really and time’s a bullet train across it. our time? oh, not ours.”

“look at the lupines, inhale the hummingbird. these are the panacea, the cancellation of everything short of Auschwitz.”

“‘hyperlogalia medical’. Did you mean hyperlocal paralegal? um,/ no. I mean stories overflow any social container or contentment./ only lack of mutual is pathological. otherwise, all glows.”

and like a dirge, the dance, the long poem heats up:

“frost-slapped cheeks applied via Avon, ‘talk to him’ you instructed,/ rub his hands, keep him with us. (we never had touched.)"

“sanguine sans glum, stand-up, wipe sebum, beach bum,/ I’ve been dead to you for 4 changes of addresses.”

As if drawing from the tradition of poetry influenced by war, perhaps T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, the introspective and disconnected thoughts in vertigoheel for the dilly are a distinctly Canadian take on a Western world bound by war.

Often poems work on different levels, something about the poem, draws you in, becomes somehow about you or about anyone that reads it, it becomes about us. vertigoheel for the dilly, a very powerful read from The People’s Poet, Pearl Pirie.

Available at above/ground press.

Genre: Poetry, New Age, Women's Literature





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