if this is love where is Sarnia?
Houwer’s if this is love where is Sarnia? is a collection of poems excerpted from a larger work which she created during her commute between Parkdale and North York in Toronto. She states that the poems were inspired by “snippets of conversation, newsprint, flashes of faces, images, [and] the city, seen and heard.” The work, overall, made more sense to me after reading that explanation, but just barely.
Reading through the poems is like riding a bus driving through the city at a steady hundred kilometers per hour. The words were images, thoughts and sensations that cluster-bombed my mind and the experiences left me reeling as I tried to make any sense of them. The combination of words and phrases was just mind boggling. The lack of periods and commas didn’t help as it gave me a little less ability to understand the poems. That’s if she meant the poems to have any structure. If the deep, beautiful meaning in Houwer’s poems is their reflection of the chaos of urban life, then the poems did a great job. If not, then the meanings are buried too deep, making it very difficult to find them. (Terry Harjanto)
Chapbook, Rebecca Houwer, red iron press, firstname.lastname@example.org, imagorediron.ca