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Georgia Straight Review of Teethmarks

Poems Chaotic and Sparkling
By Jacqueline Turner
Publish Date: 21-Oct-2004

The collected poems of Sina Queyras's Teethmarks (Nightwood Editions, $16) sprawl across the space of the book like clothes scattered across the floor of a messy room. You can enter, pick something up, hold it up to your chest, and see if you like it. Queyras welcomes you into the room of a poem where "on aubergine linen we lounge, full/prow and longing for something hard/and easy: palm on palm we/are dreaming each other in leather". She asks you to make yourself comfortable.

Once you're in, she invites you to look through literary snapshots, to imagine how books and the literary figures who haunt them might affect you. In "What Books Our Lives Have Become":

You with Rochester tonguing
lurid suggests, Swift holding
court in our bedroom, applause...

It is a luxurious mess, a "slender, fractured state", and you're not afraid to lean back against the edge of the bed, kick off your shoes.

Now that you're comfortable, however, a road trip is proposed and you're off in the conflated landscape of Brooklyn and Winnipeg, Vancouver and New Jersey. Soon you're discussing memories of childhood road trips, describing the interiors of cars.

You start to realize Sina thinks like a woman, and that view is full of consequences. Her poetic lines can be clipped to the absolute breaking point to convey the fractured nature of our lives, or go on without stopping, showing how we relentlessly push ourselves: "Tissue and lace gown, orderly, maudlin,/letter, crumpled chenille, photo, candle burning, hairspray,/long blonde hair, huge ass, tits, uncased pillows spearmint leaves, sugar-coated..." Queyras effectively brings together the little and the large, leaving you lots to hang on to, ways to join in.