A Wake in the Undertow
Rich Theroux and Jess Szabo, 108 pgs, Durvile Publications, durvile.com, 16.95.
Rich Theroux and Jess Szabo are compulsive creators, known for their com-munity-based workshop and gallery space in Calgary, Rumble House. A Wake in the Undertow is a cycle of poems ordered in a call-and-response fashion between the two authors, collaborators, and lovers, presumably at or through some of their Rumble House sessions, where spontaneous art jamming and creation is the way art and writing are brought into being.
Though heartfelt deeply personal, the two authors are also dependent on many of the clichés commonly used to describe love, desire and admiration.
Back and forth throughout the collection the poets celebrate each other and the love they have found. Themes explored in the collection include mental health, hope, art, love, depression, gratitude, philosophy, and desire.
The collection serves as a record of their relationship and reflections on their personal histories separate and together. The writing is solid enough despite some cheesiness. Unfortunately, like so many collections of love poems and especially work created by and between lovers, the collection doesn’t tell the story of Rich and Jess in a particularly interesting, creative or memorable way.