BC Poetry 2017: "The Rules of the Kingdom" by Julie Paul (McGill-Queens University Press)

What We Thought About Sex At Fifteen
we thought it began with the Bible
we thought Shakespeare invented it
we thought it was a unicorn, right there in our woods
we thought it was basically like a peaceful sit-in
            a gemstone
                        a bacteria 
                                    a rogue wave 
                                    a swan
                                    a fever 
we thought it was better than Chicken Divan   
we thought it was like the sun, actually good for us
we thought we were animals in all aspects but this:
            we could forget about it
                        a fresh slate was all we wanted
we thought nothing of it
            nothing could compare
we thought good and hard
we thought ourselves sick 
                        like girls in a telenovela
we thought we could do it again
we thought we could never do it again:
we thought wrong.


Julie Paul is the author of the short story collections The Jealousy Bone and The Pull of the Moon. She lives in Victoria, BC.


To seek belonging, to strain against the familiar - these are the polarities many of us live between, feeling the pull of each desire. Offering a particular history, an intimate vantage point from within the various kingdoms we inhabit, Julie Paul’s The Rules of the Kingdom is an exploration of this struggle on a personal level and a universal one.

Broken into five sections, the book examines the human struggle to find meaning, comfort, and a sense of home. In “Settlers’ Descendant Reclaims the Past,” the poems consider rural life, both the specific and the collective, including a village’s destruction by fire. In “Weight of the Word” the focus turns to family of origin, religion, and rites of passage. Poems take a familial tack again in “Cleavage,” wherein Paul dives into the waters of motherhood, and they drift into further intimacy in “The World’s Smallest Republic,” a series of poems about sex, love, and marriage. Finally, the poems in the fifth section, “Next Time the World Will Burn,” explore our place in the twenty-first century and offer some idiosyncratic suggestions on how to live.

At turns humorous, playful, contemplative, and coy, the poems in The Rules of the Kingdom question the vagaries of faith and family but ultimately celebrate life and love.

"Julie Paul’s The Rules of the Kingdom is a testament to the grit and grace of life lived with intention. It is rare to encounter poems that meet the complexities of being and belonging with such fresh, unapologetic joy." - Deanna Young


Arrived January 2017.


Book Launches: Done and gone!

Purchases: From the MQUP website or at your local bookstore. $16.95.


Questioning the vagaries.

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

No comments: