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The Animal Bridegroom by Sandra Kasturi is an intriguing collection of poems rich in layered meanings and mythical allusions. It begins with a stunningly lovely endorsement from well-known fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, and a well-chosen opening poem called “The Burning Woman” that charmed this fantasy-loving girl right off the top.

Kasturi’s award-winning “Old Men, Smoking” does not disappoint the reader. It is an undoubtedly beautiful poem that leaves you feeling that you have just touched a secret truth of the universe, there all along but needing a poet’s skillful words for revelation.

The collection is given strength by the author’s use of shifting perspectives, from those of fabled characters in “Frankenstein’s Wife’s Therapist” and “Gretel Papers” to the beautifully simplistic explorations of love and friendship through the eyes of vulnerable young women in “The Stars as Seen from Alberta” and “Berry Picking with Jane”.

As with most collections of poetry, I had my favourites and a few that I could do without. I found the inclusion of one prose piece, “The Left Love Department,” a strange choice but end notes reveal that it was written as a wedding present so all is forgiven. With this collection Kasturi proves herself to be an adept poet, in realms of both fantasy and realism. Definitely a worthwhile read. (Corrie Sakaluk)

by Sandra Kasturi, $14.95, 93 pages, Tightrope Books, 17 Greyton Crescent, Toronto, ON, M6E 2G1,

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