Lit­tle Red By Kerry Gilbert Mother Tongue Pub­lish­ing, 106 pages, $19.95

Toronto Star - - BOOKS -

In her third po­etry col­lec­tion, Kerry Gilbert in­vokes the story of Red Rid­ing Hood as a frame for ex­plor­ing the dan­gers chil­dren face and the fears of par­ents who worry about keep­ing them safe. In part, the book is a con­tem­po­rary re­cast­ing of the clas­sic folk­tale: Scar­let is warned by her mother “hold your phone close…avoid al­leys/don’t make eye con­tact” and the wolf is a preda­tory ex­change stu­dent from Ger­many who stirs a date-rape drug into her drink. The Ver­non, B.C. poet jux­ta­poses pas­sages on this over­ar­ch­ing theme with po­ems of parental anx­i­ety about other threats, rang­ing from car ac­ci­dents to wild­fires. Even the sound of sirens in a sub­urb “where front doors are dou­ble locked/and rooms are babyproofe­d” evokes alarm. “I see story in de­tails,” Gilbert writes; and in­deed, many of the po­ems bris­tle with stark, un­set­tling im­ages, such as “a used con­dom found/at the edge of an ele­men­tary school.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.