USEREVIEW 023 (Capsule): The Knowing Animals

Jade Wallace/ March 9, 2021/ Book Review, Capsule Review

Emily Skov-Nielsen
The Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020)
ISBN 978-1-771315333 | 104 pp | $20 CAD


Emily Skov-Nielsen’s debut poetry collection, The Knowing Animals (Brick Books, 2020), integrates the small, prosaic dramas of mundanity (“I’m bent over the cutting board slicing tomatoes / with a serrated knife — deciding if I should leave you”) and luxuriously lyrical imagery (“coltsfoot clambers / from concrete clefts, groundlings of the groundsel tribe, / lovers of rifts and shambles, larvae food for the Gothic moth”). There are threads of thematic, even narrative, continuity that might be traced across the poems. But there is also a certain, persistent eclecticism in the collection — perhaps best exemplified by the final, single-poem section “Considering Physics, Destiny’s Child, BDSM, and Simon Weil at Drag Bingo” — that electrifies the poems with the frisson of grab bag surprise.

Recommended excerpt:

Check out “Cryptozoology,” which begins with the implied question of what humankind would do if we actually found a cryptid, and then follows the tracks of our environmentally-destructive history to a terrible, hypothetical conclusion.

Jade Wallace is the Reviews Editor for CAROUSEL. More:

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