by Alison Calder
A first collection of sharp, clever, wicked poems that range from images of circus freaks and two-headed calves to snow geese and wind in the pines.
A first collection of sharp, clever, wicked poems that range from images of circus freaks and two-headed calves to snow geese and wind in the pines. A wolf tree is a tree in a bush or a thicket which is different in shape from those around it; a tree whose broader trunk and spreading branches indicate that it once grew alone but is now surrounded. Alison Calder's poems shine the light of a poet's curiosity on all manner of "natural occurrences," which nevertheless stand out.
The book opens with an examination of the extreme forms this nature may take - from the Dutch legend of the false child Sooterkin, to two-headed calves, Zip the Pinhead, and other medical curiosities, particularly those captured by 19th century photographic techniques. The disquieting feelings created by these subjects persist, causing the reader to proceed watchfully, even when the poet's attention switches to more common themes and images - plastic clotheslines, wildflowers of western Canada, snow geese, the Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany.
A selection of poems from this manuscript received the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for writing excellence by a writer under the age of 35. A section of this manuscript, Sexing the Prairie, was published in the journal Open Letter in Fall 2006.