Touch to My Tongue


53 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919285-27-9





Donalee Moulton-Barrett was a writer and editor in Halifax.


Daphne Marlatt has a love affair with language. She treats it with respect and wonder, but she still has fun. And so will readers of her latest collection of prose poetry, Touch to My Tongue.

Marlatt’s work is evocative, even mythical at times, but understanding it requires reading and rereading. Marlatt helps by including a “Notes” section that explains some of the words, themes, and origins used in her poetry. But even without this, readers will be moved smoothly from one image to another, from one level of language to another. This is Marlatt’s strength as a writer — her ability to control, contort, and caress language: “JADE a sign on the road announces, ijada, piedra de, stone of that space between the last rib and the hipbone, that place i couldn’t bear the weight of his sleeping hand upon — and my fingers flutter to my ring, gone.”

Also included in the collection is “musing with mothertongue,” an essay on all-encompassing language, on Marlatt’s need to write, and on her love affair with words, sound, and meaning: “like mother’s body, language is larger than us and carries us along with it. it bears us, it births us, insofar as we bear with it.”

Complementing the richness of Marlatt’s prose and poetry is “Memory Room,” photographs by Cheryl Sourkes. Like Marlatt’s work they are crammed full of meaning and image. It is a sensual, satisfying, and resonant mix.


Marlatt, Daphne, “Touch to My Tongue,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,