Ashes Are Bone and Dust


96 pages
ISBN 1-895837-02-2
DDC C811'.54





Olga Costopoulos teaches English at the University of Alberta.


Ashes Are Bone and Dust is Jill Battson’s second collection. The poems
chronicle, in varying degrees of acuity, the deaths of her parents and
the death—or at least the loss—of love. They are unequivocally
confessional, with a degree of candor that appeals to the reader as

Doubtless the subject matter is important to the poet, but there is
nothing in this collection that rises above the prosaic, and much in it
that falls into cliché. This is not to say that the poems are uniformly
bad. There are two, mid-collection, that give one hope that this is a
voice that could, with a stern editor, achieve poetic fluency.
“Orange,” for example, shows real grace and originality. Reading
“Futility of Desire,” however, one longs for an original expression,
some verbal facility to lift the poem over that stile of unrequited
love. The poem opens with that all-too-familiar plaint: “How many
times must I check my voice mail / before I realize you’re not going
to call.”


Battson, Jill., “Ashes Are Bone and Dust,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,