Review of That Singing You Hear at the Edges

That Singing You Hear at the Edges

That Singing You Hear at the Edges is the section collection from Halifax's first and current poet laureate, Sue MacLeod. Her first, The Language of Rain, established MacLeod as a poet wonderfully adept at teasing the numinouns out of ordinary circumstances.

Her focus in this second book is primarily on the ways in which family, place, past, and the immanence of death conjoin to figure the heart. There are poems here you can expect to see widely anthologized.

And not just the ones that have already won the prizes, like Arc's Poem of the Year (for 'The God of Pockets'), but poems like 'She Looks Back, which carry such a weight of feeling with such grace and so little evident strain.

— Robert Moore Winnipeg Free Press

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That Singing You Hear at the Edges

Sue MacLeod's second book of poems begins with The God of Pockets, the poem that won first prize in Arc's 2000 Poem of the Year Contest. It's wonderful way to introduce the Poet Laureate of Halifax's poems that describe the intimate details of a life.  Those small and intimate details are the ones that connect us to something larger.

One can only imagine Sue MacLeod making her way to her part-time library job noticing that "singing you hear at the edges", seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary as poets do.  The line that gives the book its title is from a poem in the third section of the book, When Night meets Thread & Needle & lies down among the bedclothes.    

Childhood memories blend with solitary memories and memories imagined.  Her imagination is not without humour.  One poem is about words as "underpaid workers".  The second last poem in the collection brings us back to the mystery and wonder of pockets: "I've come to fil my pockets up,/ not weigh them down. To comb / that shore for anything / that's luminous, or white." 

Poetry is the soul's creation of ceremonies out of ordinary events. Sue Macleod's is a fine example.  

— Mary Ann Moore Independently Reviewed

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