Ruined Stars


77 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 1-55022-675-4
DDC C811'.54






Reviewed by Chris Knight

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


If you’re reading through Vaughan’s poetry and aren’t crazy about
what you see, press on. Within a half-dozen titles he’ll execute a
sharp turn and present an entirely new body of work. To be sure,
there’s a continuity of voice in these 37 free-verse poems—sensual,
a bit bawdy, and able to pull engrams from places (especially in the
opening section, “Palm Springs Stories”) the way Silly Putty can
capture newsprint; and like Silly Putty, the reflected memory is often
stretched grotesquely, as in the cruel yet hilarious poem “9 Better
Reasons for Elizabeth Hurley to End Her Life.” But the poet’s range
is wide, from a child’s-eye view of a ham-radio-enthusiast father who
“reduced himself to particles & waves, sparked dust / and me to
less,” to cheeky herbal remedies for gay men, to London’s seedier
pubs and clubs.

Vaughan’s sometimes coarse imagery brushes against the senses like a
rasp: the back of the tongue becomes “a muscled plain meant to catch
choking biscuits, balls of gristle, lies.” But his syntax, once felt,
will not soon be forgotten.


Vaughan, R.M., “Ruined Stars,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,