USEREVIEW 034 (Capsule): Murmurations
Murmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020)
ISBN 978-1-554472086 | 96 pp | $20.95 CAD
I sat down at my writing desk to begin reading Annick MacAskill’s sophomore poetry collection Murmurations (Gaspereau Press, 2020), expecting to get through a few poems before going to bed. Instead, by the end of an hour or so, I had devoured the book completely. Murmurations, I think, invites this kind of reading. There is a through-line in the poems that is not a continuity of narrative, but a continuity of imagery and emotion. This is not at all to say that the poems are reiterative; rather, their internal and external landscapes seemed to pass me smoothly by, as if I were watching them through a car window. Despite the intimacy of subject matter, the absolutely precise pithiness of the poems tends to turn the reader into an observer, watching the figures who populate the poems, who are themselves often in process of observing one another. One therefore, inevitably, reads the book with unconscious sympathy — a clever trick by an evidently skilled poetic hand.
The poem “Solar Eclipse” juxtaposes the immediate and the immense, the personal and the historic, in a way that inverts expectations, casting the larger forces of life as a backdrop for the more deeply-felt dramas of the small and near.