Pub date: July 29, 2004
Sue Sinclair writes in a lyrical tradition that subverts the stereotype of "Canadian women's" poetry while still playing with some, if not all, of the same poetic vocabulary. The Drunken Lovely Bird, her accomplished third book of poetry, confirms her reputation as one of Canada's most original young poets. A keen observer of the material world, from the Newfoundland coast to the streets of Toronto, she has a rare gift for epiphany, for exposing the numinous in the commonplace. Her poems speak from that precise place where our perception of the world and our capacity for language meet and embrace, where our sense of experience goes to get sharpened and refreshed. That experience might involve the inner lives of clouds, the flourishing and passing of a tulip, the evocative scent of wolf willow, or the intricate arts of Bach and Virginia Woolf.
Sinclair's poems are deft, musical, and quick in the moment, alive to the sensuous surface and the meditative depth, their antennae fully extended. They focus brilliantly on lively physical details, yet they resonate with the subtle emotions that whisper at the edges of the everyday world. Meditative and beautifully crafted, Sinclair's poems are simultaneously surprising and inevitable, inviting readers to gaze more deeply into their surroundings and to rejoice in both the light and the dark.
"It is the perishability of human existence, the fragile relationship we form with the inanimate and each other, that Sinclair captures best in her poetry . . . the quizzical observing voice she developed [in her previous book] has become even more refined. Sparse and precise . . . Sinclair is an astute capturer of the ephemeral â€“ darkness, destruction, memory, loss â€“ and appliances, both physical and metaphysical, we construct to shield us from these fears . . . Sinclairâ€™s poems approach the quotidian with grace and intelligence." - Malahat Review
"Sue Sinclairâ€™s latest collection is full of powerful moments, showing her adeptness at honing pieces of text into full, sharp visions . . . delightful pieces of well-crafted imagery." â€” subTerrain magazine, Issue #42
"Many of the lines are remarkable for the ethereal resonance, as in the opening of 'Lilacs'. The most resonant poems in m