Hitch your wagon to a star
The plan 99 Reading series presents Sandra Ridley launching Fallout, her first full-length collection, and Jennifer Londry, launching After the Words, a collection about the mystical journey of Alzhemer’s disease. 5 p.m.
by Sandara Ridley
Fallout embraces the darkness of the 20th century in poems that inhabit both the fear and wonder of that time. On the surface Fallout appears to be about the legacy of the nuclear age yet Ridley writes with a subversive humour that counters the fierceness of her subject. In her world madness intrudes upon the mundane as a Nevada casino shakes during a "test", a white train rumbles through the night transporting nuclear weapons and a couple takes up residence in a vacant nuclear weapons silo.
Ridley's poems veer from the terrifying to the tender, the comic and the apocalyptic, the ironic to the philosophical, and the cosmic to the domestic-- often within the same poem. This is an energetic and entertaining new voice in Canadian poetry both insightful and playful by turns. At the heart of the book is an elegiac tone that points to a more hopeful future. The book ends with an award winning sequence of ghazals written about the death of a young sister that leaves the reader breathless.
Sandra Ridley was co-winner of the bpNichol Chapbook Award for her chapbook Lift (JackPine Press) and was a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry in 2009. An earlier version of Fallout won the 2008 Alfred G. Bailey Prize. A past associate editor with Arc Magazine, and a facilitator of poetry workshops for the Tree Reading Series and the City of Ottawa, Ridley's work can also be found in such journals as The Antigonish Review, CV2, Fiddlehead, Grain, New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, RAMPIKE, and This Magazine, and as a chapbook titled Rest Cure published by Apt. 9 Press. Sandra Ridley grew up in Saskatchewan, and currently resides in Ottawa. This is her first full-length collection.
After the Words
by Jennifer Londry
Jennifer Londry's poems come at the reader like a brisk punch to the heart. The people who inhabit them are profane and tender, dazed and confused and short on options, yet they remain stubbornly vibrant. These damaged souls assert their humanness and connection.
Londry writes with vivid immediacy about the people and places around her, so that each poem moves richly and swiftly through memory and perception, through the daily difficulty of a mother's descent into Alzheimer's and the others who live in the same care home. Londry writes of life as only she can see it, our world seen through poetic eyes, unafraid to see the harsh realities and capable of sparkling revelations.
She has been busy down here, knee-deep in a poety's work, bringing our attention to glories and cruelties, through poetic stories only she can tell: how each hour dangled and flipped to its opposite / till the wolf slunk away.
In a little room by a window, Jennifer Londry writes. She is the co-author of one previous collection of poetry, Life & Death in Cheap Motels, (2009, Hidden Brook Press), with R.D. Roy. The collection has been compared to a "gut-punch guided tour through the 3 a.m. gritty neighbourhoods of the soul." She has been published in a number of literary magazines and recently appeared at the Kingston Writers' Festivals, (2009). She lives in Kingston.