andrea bennett takes a direct route in Canoodlers
By andrea bennett. Nightwood Editions, 80 pp, softcover
What really makes Canoodlers unique is its direct approach, its unwillingness to hide behind the artifice of poetic veneers and cryptic linguistic manoeuvrings. In “His father’s squat stature” bennett paints a vulgar picture of a dad with “breakfast-sausage fingers” and “the melon of his breath ripened with wine”. This piece plays with the concept of physical pain emblems like bruising as a meter that gauges time and emotion. All this grotesque reality is heightened with the poet describing her face fresh from dental surgery: “My cheeks were nectarines.” Later in the poem bennett returns to the bruise as metaphor for the way we are connected to memory, people, and places: “A certain amount of bruising might make/a relationship sweeter.”
In “Godwits” a simple connection is made between human consumption and the eating cycle of a small bird travelling a great distance. Bennett holds up a mirror to our human preoccupation with food as both survival mechanism and a lifestyle choice.
By combining enigmatic imagery with the personal, she evokes a lyrical quality, never dwelling in the subjective diarylike terrain of the confessional.
With Canoodlers, andrea bennett has brought out the awkward garage-sale contents of our own personal inventories and placed them on display with honest, face-value decadence, to be taken home by readers and examined in just the right mood.