jeramy dodds’s brilliantly bent second book of poetry can be used to teach any number of lessons about the craft. When not to go too long. How smart line breaks heighten a reader’s curiosity. Why the perfect word is often the most unexpected one. But perhaps the top takeaway is that, if you want to say something memorable, you should lead with the music. Dodds has one of the most preposterous ears in Canadian poetry. He hears odd things in the way we talk to one other and builds his poems accordingly, joining up bits of colloquialized detritus, the bobs and tags of everyday chatter. Repurposed clichés (“the heart wants what wants not the heart”) and downside-up observations (“The change / in my pocket is dying to be a cheap / tambourine”) are held together by ingenious puns, gearshifting assonance, and internal rhymes. The result — linguistically rich, shaggy-dog storytelling — is giddy-making. At a time when wordplay, metaphor, and sound have become minor concerns for poets — the art is now expected to quarterback big ideas to earn its keep — poems have become just too damn serious. Drakkar Noir reminds us that poetry can be a guilty pleasure.
— Carmine Starnino