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Anyday Kind of Poems
reviewed by Julia Dovey

Small, Frequent Loads of Laundry
Rhonda Ganz
Mother Tongue Publishing



serpentine loop
Elee Kraljii Gardiner
Anvil Press


Rhonda Ganz is a poet writing from Victoria, BC. She has had poetry featured in multiple anthologies and festivals. EleeKraljii Gardiner is a writer, publisher, and editor hailing from Vancouver, where she directs Thursdays Writing Collective, a program of creative writing classes in the Downtown Eastside.

This particular morning, it felt like a Wednesday.

I couldn’t pinpoint why, especially since my phone assured me that it was, in fact, a Thursday.

It was this Thurwednesday evening that I finished Rhonda Ganz’s Small, Frequent Loads of Laundry, and though I rode on the satisfied high one feels after devouring a tasty bit of writing, I also had the slight urge to drink as though it were a Friday.

Rhonda Ganz has performed a curious feat of time in this small, tightly packed book of prose poetry; though separated in sections by the seven days of the week, one can choose to take either several months, or a mere afternoon, to read a lifetime of aching, snappy thought. The ups and downs one might feel over a tumultuous week are heighted in these poems, discussing love, sex, suicide, and aliens with a level of rare wit that scratches every inch of the brain. The only educated guess a reader can take on the book’s path is that the Thursday section will probably—though not certainly—follow the Wednesday; if it didn’t, there would be the immediate acceptance that it was likely better this way, and perhaps we should start a petition to switch the days around.

Despite this, one can see a definite pattern of a troubled life lived in these pages; a woman grows dutifully older, musing on her childless status while considering smoking an eight minute cigarette on the tracks of a train that passes every seven. It is a book that throbs with subtle pain, but is written in a matter that can eek a reluctant sniff of delight at the most inopportune of times. Although this book can be understood completely by anyone who has found the deepest part of themselves in a throwaway song lyric, there are bits and pieces that ring true only for readers close to the author’s home; mentions of Stellar Jays and cedar chippings give it a flavour that is wholly British Columbian.

BC seems to provide incredible scope for poets. This is obvious in Frequent, small loads of laundry, and also in Elee Kraljii Gardiner’s serpentine loop, another book of thought-provoking verse. Though they share similar elements in size and style, serpentine loop offers yet another, perhaps colder, path through the mind of its readers.

The name of the book is chosen well, as is the beautiful, stormy blue and white cover that is tactilely rough to the touch. The poetry itself has a serpentine quality, moving around and twisting back upon itself in a way that is both jarring and graceful; beautiful images and exquisite descriptions are used both in poems of mother’s love and poems of black eyes and drug use. The imagery of figure skating is the foundation of this coolly poignant volume, the technical breakdown diagrams of the loop move itself used as the headings of sections.Skating the edge of art and poetry, the book utilizes figures and interesting structure to keep a reader engaged to the fullest. And again, we can see British Columbia in the frozen ponds and forests, in the rain greying the city, in the “multimillion dollar structures cantilevered on cliffs mined with otter slides.”

There is a certain isolation one might feel when reading; figure skating lingo is predominant in this book, which could cause some confusion to the non-skating crowd, though there is a long glossary of terms thoughtfully provided at the back. Perhaps, though, this adds yet another layer to a book that sets itself in isolation—skating alone and cold on a frozen lake, or living solitary and scared in a cold, causticrelationship. Perhaps it’s fitting. It is a story told in a serpentine loop, in focused moments of a precise movement that seem easy and obvious to an outsider looking in. But, like a silent, frozen lake, there is so much below that is not easily seen.

I finished serpentine loop on a Friday, a Friday that a friend told me, somehow, felt more like a Tuesday. Different days have different tangs, just as BC poems have that undeniable BC flavour. These recent days feel just that little bit off—maybe it’s understandable, in a BC spring that by all rights and means should still be a BC winter.

Well, no matter what day it feels like, it is technically a Friday. Perhaps I will have that drink tonight. Ice cold.

Julia Dovey writes from Aldergrove, British Columbia. She is currently attending the University of the Fraser Valley, is a board member of Savittar Productions, and is working towards publishing her first novel.

This review originally appeared in Pacific Rim Review of Books 22.