Women We Never See Again
Martin Singleton was a poet living in Toronto.
Women is the latest book from this prolific poet. It contains 54 love poems, 14 of which begin with “I”; as Di Cicco says, “I am always beginning with myself.” Consequently, one never arrives at a convincing picture of any “woman”: they remain as faceless as the anonymous Amarylisses and Chloes of Elizabethan poetry, and they exist mainly as vehicles for this poet’s verbal pyrotechnics.
A sense of humour, often self-deprecatory, diminishes the egocentricity somewhat, and Di Cicco uses rhyme here to better effect than previously. Nevertheless, the annoying lack of prepositions (“I lie in bed, thinking horses”) and the tedious repetition (“I sing the footnotes /to you, I sing you one tremendous leap. Your mothers /love us. I sing you roads that will be filled with snow.”) continue from his earlier work. Although this poet refers to his poems as “lean and barefoot,” they are certainly anything but. Unabashed romanticism (“my November sweetness,” “there are teardrops that never open”) vie with pseudo-tough diction like “love, the toad,” “the half assed lesson,” and “tear-jerker,” and the mixture works for a while, but the lack of variation in both content and language makes Women a book that is best appreciated in small doses, spaced well apart; nor is “more” always “better.”