95 pages
ISBN 1-895636-60-4
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Chris Knight

Chris Knight is the senior movie reviewer at the National Post.


Reading Tammy Armstrong’s poetry is like running into waist-deep water
on a warm day—the language forces you to slow down, but it is also
immensely refreshing. The author’s second collection of poetry (her
first, Bogman’s Music, was short-listed for a Governor General’s
Literary Award) is full of deceptively short, simple works that defy
easy analysis. “After Snake River Canyon Jump” tells of the dotage
of a certain motorcycle daredevil without once using the words Evel or
Knievel, but instead employing such evocative phrases as “let the
rhinestones / glitter to envy flashbulb spray.” In “The Hill Where
It Sits,” “it” is a candy factory, elliptically yet unmistakably
described in the opening lines: “Candied air glosses the town / spins
sugar over the closed-down shops.” These 46 works recall far-off
memories of place, but also the people who are inextricably linked to
those remembrances—the “carpal tunnel cashier,” the grocer’s
“popsicle-stained children,” the roofer’s wife, “loose-breasted,
beautifully run-down.” Sometimes there are cheeky promises not kept:
“Why I Don’t Own Garden Gnomes” doesn’t quite answer the
question. But like cooling water, it’s still fun to dive into.


Armstrong, Tammy., “Unravel,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15321.