Virtuosic poems for anyone who has ever survived a broken heart or made it past fifty.
Invisible Dogs, Dempster’s fourteenth collection, is a complex but deeply coherent hymn to the difficult business of staying alive. This is a book for when it hurts so bad you hope you’ll die and are afraid you won’t—not because it offers consolation or the promise of a new dawn, but because it so compellingly documents the plain, hard, ungraceful, stumbling grief of the matter, and meets it with rare self-knowledge, wry humour, and an unornamented determination to go on living.
Dempster’s metaphors are like hairpin turns taken at breakneck speed. He has nerves of steel when it comes to self-examination, and it’s this relentless honesty and the emotional torque it induces that keep the voice on the road.
the rearview mirror as if it were a bush about to spring
into flames, the past appearing closer than it really is.
Miles of missing her, those erratic white lines.
He keeps forgetting where he’s going – city,
corner store, centre of the universe. No wonder
arrival feels so temporary, like a borrowed bathroom key.
~ from “He Said/She Said”
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