Poetry zine, Meghan Harrison, firstname.lastname@example.org, $5
I picked up Pride Fight from a friend’s (now-defunct) distro after a show and set it down beside me on the bar while I ordered a drink. A stranger girl asked me if it was the menu, but I was forced to admit it was only poetry. She flipped the book open at random and started reading a poem, and kept on for a few minutes until her friends finally succeeded in dragging her back into whatever. Harrison’s poetry gets your attention like that, even in a tough-sell moment for verse.
It’s the voice I think, drily amused by the indignities of dating and jobbing, too in love with her rare finds in the scrap pile of young adulthood to numb out: “If you charged by the hour / to look at your face / I’d be broke / with all my blood pink / in the surfaces / of my body, a highlighter / that’s flagged every place / I’m ready to be touched.”
These are poems for the post-uni femmes in black t-shirts who still go to concerts and still give a shit.
You definitely get bang for your buck in terms of wordcount from this slim self-produced fold-and-staple job: these are verbose poems, dense with detailed similes that spin-off into their own stories. For every blunt narrative like “the chronicles of sarnia II” (which gives us the unforgettable line, “i’m not going to pride fight my mom”), there’s a more idiosyncratic lyric like “Dead Celebrity Horse Message Board,” where the causal relationship between the images is less linear. These take a little more work to unpack, and occasionally individual lines overreach. But by and large though even the most unwieldy pieces are a blast to read, casual and unpretentious despite their linguistic dexterity; a rawer Elizabeth Bachinsky is your best player-comparable, for whatever TV analyst is out there forecasting Harrison’s draft potential. Harrison is still a regular at Toronto’s better open mics like The Sophisticated Boom Boom, and it’s worth catching her while you can, since, based on Pride Fight, she’ll soon be soccer-kicking the wider poetry scene in earnest. (JM Francheteau)