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Friday, 27 July 2007

Poem by Elizabeth Bachinsky

Eyewear is very glad to welcome Elizabeth Bachinsky (pictured) this Friday.

Bachinsky has recently stormed onto the Canadian poetry scene as one of the significant, exciting new poets to follow - one whose fine sense of form is equalled by a hipster dedication to using the full spectrum of tone, style, and content - often voicing, with Browning's panache, the dramatic monologues of the marginal young (in one another's arms, etc.).

In this way, she extends contemporary Canadian poetry's unequalled exploration of the merger of high and low, form and content, and style and sensibility, that makes 21st century Canadian collections often richly ironic, speculative and positively excessive works - works simply disinterested in pure authenticity or tradition for tradition's sake - works asking questions (about identity, media, culture, and American experience) that poetry books in Britain and Ireland all too often don't even know exist.

(The starting gun for this poetry is the pistol-shot belief that nothing is out of bounds in terms of language or theme - dismissing out-moded ways of thinking about the sublime, about purity in poetry. It's work driven by adrenaline, humour, a command of form, and an eye and ear for the exceptionally contemporary, whether that be on street, screen, or sheet. This New Canadian Line might start with McGimpsey, and The Matrix poets, and runs like an undercurrent through many post-1999 collections, from Budavox on...)

Bachinsky is the author of two books of poetry, Curio: Grotesques and Satires From the Electronic Age (BookThug, 2005) and Home of Sudden Service (Nightwood Editions, 2006). She was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and raised in Prince George and Maple Ridge, BC. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and the United States and has been translated for publication in France and China. Bachinsky has been nominated for many awards including The Bronwen Wallace Award for Poetry and the Governor General's Award for Poetry. She lives in Vancouver where she teaches creative writing, co-curates the Robson Reading Series, and is the poetry editor for Event magazine.


Home of Sudden Service

The last year of high school, I got a job
as a pizza delivery person, drove burning hot
stacks of Hawaiian-with-extra-cheese around
all night in my Volkswagen rabbit. The radio
always playing something like Smoke
On The Water
or Crazy On You, and I smoked
so many cigarettes my pointer finger started
turning really yellow. After a while, they let me work
in the kitchen too. Squirting bottles of sweet
tomato sauce onto disks of dough.
I quit that place for the coffee shop with
the medical/dental and got an apartment
with Angel right away, which was about time.
The first month, we made love
in every room. I worked my ass
off in the coffee shop and got myself promoted
to Shift Supervisor after only four months;
Angel got on full-time at the shop.
So I got my Dogwood and I got pregnant.
Didn’t seem to be any reason not to, especially
with the mat-leave, and we weren’t wrong.
Cole’s three-and-a-half now. I have to leave him
with mom on the days I go to work.
I try to get a lot of early shifts so I can spend
nights with Angel and Cole, but it’s hard.
There aren’t that many Supervisors at work,
so I have to work a lot of nights anyway.
It’s a lot of responsibility. On my days off,
I take Cole to visit his dad at work.
Cole loves a truck up on a jack.
Whenever we show up, we wait for Angel
in the office. There’s a sign out front that reads
The Home of Sudden Service, but, sometimes,
it takes him a while to notice us.
When he looks out from under the truck
and sees us, though, he gives
us this shy kind of smile, as if we’re his secret
and heat passes through my body like a wave.
Sometimes I think he’s still getting used
to the idea of us. When he comes home, he’s filthy,
but I love the smell of him, he smells like my father
used to when he came home from work.
I don’t know…is that fucked up? I don’t think so.


Poem by Elizabeth Bachinsky. Originally published in The Fiddlehead in 2004, and is the title poem of the 2006 Nightwood book.
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