Chapbook, Eric Evans, Ink Publications, inkpublications.com, $5
This poetry collection all but ignites in your hand, so infused is it with the force of fire. Eric Evans really lights it up in chronicling a romantic relationship—from its passionate beginning to its smoldering end. Although many of the poems are emotionally raw, the nerves are always tempered with a sense of humour and musicality.
The melodious tone is set up in the opening author’s note where he thanks artists such as Wilco, Patti Smith, John Coltrane, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, both the book and movie High Fidelity. Evans balances the tension between a sonorous poetic voice and visceral passion (or despair) much like his titular fire juggler; thankfully his blindfold never causes the fire to come crashing down.
The first poem of the collection sets up the theme that carries through all of these pieces: love, loss of love, and love’s redemption after loss. He spies on a happy couple in a restaurant, commenting “They just don’t know that one / day the little things, so small / and quaint and inconsequential, / will become big and bigger, / maybe even monumental…” This is one of the few times when Evans places the lens on another. Generally in this book, the focus is on himself and his (ex-)wife. There are poems of passion and sex poems and love poems. They are all rather engaging and so funny and sad that quoting them here won’t do them justice. Fans of poetry that is direct and filled with heartbreak and humour must check out this chapbook. (Neal Armstrong)