USEREVIEW 032 (Capsule): Bones

Jade Wallace/ May 12, 2021/ Book Review, Capsule Review

Tyler Pennock
Bones (Brick Books, 2020)
ISBN 978-1-77131-521-0 | 128 pp | $20.00 CAD

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“[T]hey forget / that we are bones / — resurrected from the bones of others,” writes Tyler Pennock, alluding both literally and figuratively to how, in the earth, skeletons slowly disintegrate so that their particles take on new functions in the larger ecosystem. Digested by detrivores, turned into fertile soil, the bones often eventually resurface to nourish the flora and fauna that they once lived among in another form. This is all, I would argue, an apt analogy for what Pennock does with the past (and the present) in their debut poetry collection, Bones. In these poems, time is not a line and memory cannot be contained by the common, binaristic assessments that people are sometimes wont to impose upon it: nostalgia / regret, edification / destruction, intimacy / distance. Here, pasts and presents, translucent and innumerable, are transposed upon one another like palimpsests, like layers of sediment in the earth’s crust, a rich and deliberate accumulation that awards the reader’s visitation, revisitation, slow study.


Recommended excerpt:

Though there are breaks, blank spaces, breathing room between sections of text, I wouldn’t suggest reading any given segment as a discrete poem, separable from the rest. Just pick a page (maybe the first page, maybe another page, this is a book that coils, spirals, loops — I’m not convinced that there’s a wrong place to start or end), and then keep reading.


Jade Wallace is the Reviews Editor for CAROUSEL. More: jadewallace.ca

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