Guernica Edtions, fall, 2018.
Carol Barbour’s new book of poetry is a heady concoction of sumptuous beauty and dangerous relations – by turns playful, refined, and ferocious. Nudging at the edge of being, the poems evoke the cadence and tremour of a beating heart. Trauma is carefully negotiated, wrestling in a precarious balance between memory and what remains inconceivable. Barbour invites the reader to reflect on human frailty, and the inherent desire to mend relations with others, and with oneself. The poems are intricate ciphers, heroic missals, created to forestall the propensity of life to come undone. Infrangible is an intimate portrait of the artist as a child, a woman, and a lover, in search of meaning, union, and recognition.
Divided in two parts, titled The Broken Vase and Gigantomachy respectively, the collection consists of forty-seven poems, on a range of subjects including motherhood, artistic inspiration, and struggles with power. Infrangible opens with the poem “At First,” which introduces the enigma of inner and outer engagement, and the paradox of freedom through attachment. In the second section titled, “Gigantomachy,” the poems explore the struggles of giants and mortals, and the disequilibrium of scale and power in relationships.
In the two excerpts below, we see the poet grappling with self-compassion.
From “Aesop’s Tale of the Two Pots”:
A container for the heart beat
that defies oppression
by simply being with
From “Being at 4 a.m.”:
… moment holds the ache along with joy,
rocking the heart in the cradle of being alive.
April 10, 2018 at 8:30 pm.
Free Times Café, 320 College St. Toronto,ON M5T 1S3
2 blocks West of Spadina
Host: Rosa Arlotto
Feature Readers: Joanna Sworn, Ned Baeck, Carol Barbour