Sunday, May 22, 2011
She May Be Weary by Cameron Anstee
She May Be Weary by Cameron Anstee
published in a limited edition of 30 copies, April 18th, 2011
St. Andrew Books, 8.5x5.5 (saddle stitched), 28pp, price unknown

In She May Be Weary, produced and distributed for a reading in the blUe mOnday Reading Series at Cafe Nostalgia in Ottawa, Ontario, on April 18th, 2011 - Cameron Anstee has composed an intriguing nine part/nine page poem reflecting his exceptional grasp and comprehension of the form of the long poem generally, and the ghazal specifically.

The ghazal is often compared to the sonnet formally, since they are both brief "takes" on a situation, usually love. Each couplet is not only self-contained grammatically, yet also self-contained in terms of ideas, imagery, as well as allusions - but unlike the sonnet, the ghazal has no linear narrative or logic, no temporal progression, no contemplation of an incident in order to make sense of it. ("That Bastard Ghazal", Andy Weaver, #1)

Anstee suite of ghazals insightfully makes the reader contemplate the nature of the poet's love affair with Jenn without the usual tools of lyric poetry (sex, confession, details of the poet's personal life) - opting instead to make sense of a love by how it has affected those it embraces - much like how a stone affects the river it is dropped into:

Jenn, the secret heart; please laugh
there is nothing to excuse

the body will never deny you
until one day the body denies you

the heart catches; these things, and others
the disarray unsettles me, you know that

we can't change the words
endlessly the words change

the body is a lousy mechanism
for the heart

What makes this collection so exceptionally intriguing and unique, at least to me, is how Anstee combines elements of the ghazal with elements of the long poem to create a hybrid melding of diverse forms into a unified whole.


Available from:

Apt. 9 Press
Ottawa, Ontario |

Apt. 9 Press is an Ottawa based micropress founded by Cameron Anstee who publishes handmade chapbooks of poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction in limited editions by new and established writers.

Cameron Anstee lives in Ottawa ON where he runs Apt. 9 Press. Recent chapbooks include Frank St.(above/ground, 2010) and Water Upsets Stone (The Emergency Response Unit, 2009).

© 2010. All reviews are solely the opinion of the reviewers at Fresh Raw Cuts.