The Mourner’s Book of Albums

There’s a lot crammed into this fascinating, complicated book of poems, prose, set-ups and take-downs. Toronto poet Daniel Scott Tysdal’s second book contemplates everything from mourning – the book’s abiding theme – to protest, pop culture, memoir and memory. Most of the time, his experiments succeed. Ruminations on the Toronto G20 protests, Two Face the Two Faced Kitten and Kurt Cobain hook us with the sharp intricacy of lines like, “The world’s not always this kind to its mongrels.” More complex set-ups, like the lengthy memoir-comic-prose-poem section devoted to old friend Dahlia, killed before her time by a random serial drunk driver, are not always as successful. We are pulled into the story, but then let down by the doodled sketches on napkins and notebooks that follow. Ironically, in a book of elaborately staged set-ups, Tysdal is at his best when he reigns himself in: “Pull my hands to your skull and guide them/teach them a way to get free from touching.” (Hal Niedzviecki)

Daniel Scott Tysdal, 128 pgs, Tightrope Books,, $19