Purple is the 12th book of poetry from Daniel Rajala, and oddly reminded me of some indie film nights I’ve attended. On the one hand, you sit down and absorb some truly bad pieces, which make you feel uncomfortable and confused. And on the other hand, small fissures of something truly good emit. The bad always comes first, and I found Rajala’s poetry most of the time to be heavy-handed, leaving me with a clear glimpse of where I’m going at the start of the poem, with no need for a re-read. Other occasions had me reading a poem several times wondering why the hell he started off so good only to crash into ridiculous ambiguity, absurdity or something seeming just too personal to connect with readers. Lines such as “It was the movie Beautiful mind/That won the Oscars this time/Something I was trying to find” found in the poem Oscar Wiener left me rolling my eyes for the nth time. Where Rajala really comes through, however, is when he seems to leave this bullshit behind and just write honestly. Poems such as New Wave and If the Truth Be Known come across as honest and effective, while ones such as Wild Child are just painful to read. Once the efforts to impress are dropped, the poetry that connects comes through. (James King)

nudist/poetry chapbook, #12, 22 pages, Daniel Rajala, $?, 32-746 Richards Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3A4