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This review is taken from PN Review 215, Volume 40 Number 3, January - February 2014.

Restless Connections emily berry, Dear Boy (Faber and Faber) £9.99
susan wheeler, Meme University of Iowa Press) US$18
hélène dorion, Seizing: Places, translated and introduced by Patrick McGuinness (Arc Publications) £12.99 (hb) £9.99 (pb)

Hélène Dorion is a significant figure in Quebec's literary landscape, with a slew of poetry prizes to her name. There are five sequences in Seizing: Places, each one an account of a place 'seized': cities, shadows, mirrors, windows and faces. Already the intricate and unseizable nature of Dorion's work emerges. How can such intangibles as faces, shadows, mirrors be understood as places? In what sense can the author or reader be said to have seized them? In his introduction, Patrick McGuinness considers the irony of translating a work which pivots on the impossibilities of translating lived experience into words. Setting out the multiple meanings of the book's title Ravir, he attempts to give both the poet's sense of hunting (raptor) and of being hunted (ravished) in the choice of the word 'seizing'. Clearly, the language environment Dorion constructs is a transient and unstable territory, where to hunt or be seized by perception or insight requires patience and opportunism.

The work's lyric address makes a direct reference outside the self of the author towards the reader or simply the idea of otherness. As a result, the place where thought occurs keeps shifting and this makes that answering consciousness complicit in the hunting, in the seizing. It creates a literally reflective space where it is possible to seek out that other and to track the thought traces left throughout this book.

Dorion utilises a nuanced accretion of metaphor to track her quarry, conscious that blunter poetic tools might allow delicately constructed meanings to slip away. She ...


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