By Shane Rhodes

Nightwood Editions
5.5 x 8 - 96 pages
Paperback - $18.95
March 2011

X, passing the Ancient Mariner
on his new SeaDoo, like pirate flix
with cheap FX, no kraken exploded
from no Styx. Extras wandered the ship,
eyes X-ed out like the dead in comix.
All in all, our luck was mixed.

Sex, booze, war and wordplay collide loquaciously in Err, the latest collection from innovative and accomplished poet Shane Rhodes. Equally amusing and stunning with his joyful manipulation of language and his stark portrayals of disease and oppression, Rhodes tackles everything from AIDS to martinis with style, wit and clarity.

The book is divided into four themed sections, each of which focuses on a different sphere of life and creativity. “Spirits” amends the current scarcity of drinking poems with humourous, effervescent musings, whereas “Bodies” looks at the ravages of sex, disease and death. “The Cloud Chamber” traces the breakdown of language and sound into poems that interrogate letters, phonemes and jargon, while “Dark Matter” investigates new ways of writing and thinking about poetry.

A master of alliteration, allusion, rhyme and rhythm, Rhodes shakes up a verbal cocktail of vibrant musicality that appeals to the imagination and remains in the memory. This distinctive collection makes for delightful, unusual and engaging reading.