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book review:

Eating Fruit Out of Season

Considering how much of a presence David Livingstone Clink has within Toronto’s po­etry community, as an editor, a co-publisher, past artistic director of the Art Bar Poetry Series, current director of the Rowers Pub Reading Series, etcetera, etcetera, it’s hard to believe Eating Fruit Out Of Season is his first book of poetry. From beginning to end, the collection follows a well-defined trajec­tory. The reader is propelled through vari­ous stratum, higher and higher, punching through atmospheres of innocence, of hu­mour, of the profoundly sobering.

Clink’s humour is observational, evident in lines like “The supermarket has heads of lettuce so fresh you have to slap them,” or “why would they publish accounts of the ’60s on acid-free paper?” Have you ever wondered about that copy publishers run on the back cover of their books? To our benefit, Clink has. The poem, “Back Cover Copy,” provides four examples of copy from I Found a Snake in My Pants, a poetry collec­tion by the much-lauded Helmut Pfaffen­bichler. Of course, author and book exist exclusively in Clink’s imagination.

However, in writing “Back Cover Copy,” Clink ties together samples of various lines of actual back cover copy from actual poetry collections. What results is funny and smart: “In a voice that is both modern and original, external and internal, benevolent and ma­lign, formal and lyrical, I Found a Snake in My Pants uses the Japanese Haiku form to create revisionings of familiar biblical figures and events, permeated with a gently rueful sense of humour, an emerging grace, and the sad­ness of the immediate world. When finding his mother’s vibrators on the day of her fu­neral, Pfaffenbichler captures beautifully the solitude of the watcher.”

David Livingstone Clink deserves a wider audience. Eating Fruit Out Of Season should provide that. Until now, they don’t know what they’ve been missing. (Edward Brown)

by David Livingstone Clink 100 pgs, Tightrope books 17 Greyton Crescent, Toronto ON, M6E 2G1, $16.95

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