BC Poetry 2017: "Dear Ghost" by Catherine Owen (Wolsak and Wynn)


And so they come a-courting in the Greyhound depot,
those torn bits of boys, those wanton travellers,
having won a fuzzy, bedizened animal

from the Hunter and Gatherer machine.
A claw descends with the exuberant morbidity of children
who play Barbie and Ken, Cannibals beneath the dining-

room table as the compote and endives are served.
There’s always a more precisely foreign term for life’s
sticking-together of things, a lilt that boosts the ego

in all the unHeimlich lands of Sturm und Drang we must
pass through, sons with guts busting the glitter glue off
their Dukes of Hazzard tees as they glut themselves

with filet-mignon Doritos, old ladies who do Sudoku
like sex, older ladies in fur, awkwardly lavish velour gowns
with Uggs. There’s just a five-minute stopover in every

small town in Canada, long enough to buy a dream catcher,
to chat about your tubal ligation with a complete stranger,
almost a de rigueur pas de deux à la five a.m., Valentine’s Day,

the edges pasted down so finely I can barely see where the piazza
meets Dali’s Persistence of Memory, where the Tower of Pisa leans
into Blake’s “Sick Rose,” only a hand reaching out mutely

to gift me with a panda, and the oldest lady of all yelling out,
“Really, at this point, I’d rather walk.”


Catherine Owen is the author of ten collections of poetry and three of prose, including her compilation of interviews on writing called The Other 23 & a Half Hours: Or Everything You Wanted to Know that Your MFA Didn’t Teach You (Wolsak & Wynn, 2015) and her short story collection, The Day of the Dead (Caitlin Press, 2016). Her work has been nominated for awards, toured Canada eight times and appeared in anthologies, as well as translations. She has been employed by both the Locations and the Props department in TV land, plays metal bass and has two cats: Solstice and Equinox.


Dear Ghost is an extended love letter to her poetic influences and to the real-world objects, people, places and situations that fascinate her. Inspired by the work of John Ashbery, among others, in Dear Ghost Owen returns to the kooky imagery and humorous style she last visited with her award-winning collection Frenzy. These poems entertain immensities of sound while plumbing the depths of the psyche’s surrealities, content to enter a dreamlike realm where meaning is found in the nonsensical, the utterly human and the everyday. While Owen gathers her subjects from the mundane – work, sex, acquaintances and art – she imbues them with the extraordinary quirks and uncertainties that only language can create, and the effects are dizzying.


Arrives TODAY! April 18th, 2017!


Book Launches: April 22 in New Westminster (Bed Lectures Series). May 4th in Vancouver at The Main. May 19th in Hamilton, Ontario. May 23rd in Kingston, Ontario.

Purchases: From the Wolsak and Wynn website, or at your local bookstore. $18.


Finding meaning in the nonsensical. Kookiness.

The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks Rob! More details on the "Dear Ghost," tour can be found here!