Excerpt


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Full review in Focus on Women

For the poetry in her first anthology, Shannon takes her experiences of growing up in Canada: memories of family, school, sexuality.

She shares special moments of her adult life as a mother and woman. These two sections are balanced with external stories: newspaper clippings, books, and a Victorian book of housekeeping published in 1879. Good for Shannon to recognize this book's value for the comic and ironic contrast it can present when balanced with her modern world and images.

Thus we have a poem like "Diapers" to contrast with the bathos of the Victorian Book of Housekeeping. Compare this: Backwards, diaper becomes repaid./ All morning lifting the lid off the pail and thinking For what?/ Acrid smelling salt of the bucket mound of cloth in a pool of yellow water … With this: "housekeeping is not vulgar; it is a fine art; it grasps with one hand beauty, with the other utility; it has its harmonies like music, and its order like the stars in their courses."

I also appreciate the poet's willingness to take her readers deep inside herself. Such willingness is to me the mark of a confident, maturing poet. This excerpt from "Gestation Suite" is an example:
I write this to you/ who had to come first/ small shell that broker and, spilled its meat/ so this one could grow,/ a bloom in the hollow place.

Poetry books rarely make the bestseller lists in our world. They don't sell by the millions yet they embellish our world. Thanks to all of our small local publishers who publish poetry and introduce new writers like Shannon, knowingly choosing a lean and tenuous profession in order to keep poetry alive.
—Cherie Thiessen, Focus on Women