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Ross’s book shows off both his surreal craftsmanship and his emotional dexterity. The middle section about the loss of family is startling in its timing and choice of specific details, seemingly devoid of emotion but made potent via context: “Her father holds her in his quilt,/ takes her into his arms, pulls/ her to the place he went, with its/ wood-panelled walls and itchy green chair./ Soon there is only the quilt”. A piece in which the patient in the next bed is ruthlessly described as a lover of Tom Clancy, now there’s a guy who knows how to tell a good story ends brutally with the conclusion, “to the next bed, you are the next bed”. Ross’s subversion is playful and effective, for instance, “Poem Beginning ‘The'” (Angela Hibbs)

by Stuart Ross 81 pgs, $16.95, DC Books, Montreal DC Books, Box 666, Stn. St. Laurent, Montreal, QC, H4L 4V9

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