The Winnipeg Free Press Review - Woman Clothed in Words
The Winnipeg Free Press
Reviewed by: Jonathan Ball
A Woman Clothed in Words collects previously unpublished work by the late Anne Szumigalski, selected and edited by Mark Abley (Coteau, 164 pages, $17).
Szumigalski lived in Saskatoon, and remains a major figure in prairie poetry. An untitled poem here serves as something of a defiant, posthumous prayer: 'I will cheat you rock and inside / skeleton of earth / with potent berries and mushrooms / my bones will melt / and when at last / I go down into the dirt / I shall be crumbled loam / and a mulch of skin / and leafy hair.'
This collection will best serve those already familiar with Szumigalski's work, who want a greater sense of the scope of her literary engagements. Fragments from a Beckettian play 'to be performed in water--somehow' and her drafts towards an unrealized novel, A State of Grace, display incredible promise. That incomplete novel contains many stunning, poetic turns of phrase, and reads well even in this rough form: 'Suppose that a wind sprung up and blew his words back into his mouth? But there is no wind and he must go until the end.'