Cathy Petch, 37 pgs, LyricalMyrical, lyricalmyricalpress.com, $20
It takes a special kind of writer to open a book with her desire to shit on someone’s chest. Cathy Petch, fortunately, is more than special — her book Late Night Knife Fights is thoughtfully perverse, a collection of disarming poetry wrapped in a gutted spine.
Thick black fabric tape conceals the handmade book’s former title. Its fancy innards of splotched resume paper give her words an almost ill-fitting background. With each poem no longer than a page or two, there’s a gentle shock value in her writing. Petch bares her life and eschews any presupposed indignation from readers, instead using her sparse wording and tactful humour to evoke imagery.
Divorce and bisexuality are dealt as candidly as other topic, like vacationing with a stripper, visiting a gynecologist and getting fisted from behind. Her perception of reality may seem lopsided to more conventional tastes, but it allows her to boil down her perceptions of people in striking ways.
Petch’s playfulness with her words and disregard of sanctity is the book’s biggest asset. On dicks and hot dogs, she muses “does it really matter that one is made of lips and assholes and the other just comes into contact with these things?” This book isn’t merely a glimpse into Cathy Petch. It’s full-frontal lewdity at its best. (Alfea Donato)