Poetry that sweeps the reader along

Woodcock takes the reader on a journey of stark, uncomfortable and, at times, incomprehensible truths about conflict and the nature of humanity.

You can't bury them all Patrick WoodcockThe feel and look of Patrick Woodcock’s latest volume of poetry, You can’t bury them all: aesthetically pleasing. On the cover, the title words are partially eroded or, depending on how one looks at it, uncovered like a body that has been buried in a grave far too shallow. Within the book, Woodcock takes the reader on a journey of stark, uncomfortable and, at times, incomprehensible truths about conflict and the nature of humanity.

These poems are the result of Woodcock’s seven-year immersion in cultures of Azerbaijan, the Kurdish north of Iraq, and, closer to home, Fort Good Hope in the Northwest Territories. Despite the often dire subject matter, the poems sweep the reader along their urgent current, and here and there, through “barley clouds” come rays of, if not hope, then respite or startling wisdom such as the following:

did you know that the last bubble to come

from the drowning

carries a word

and that fish eat these words

that’s why fish are so smart

they carry us within them

By the time the last poem is read, the title seems to change from defiant to hopeful. Yes, you can’t bury them all. Yes, some will live to tell their story.

You can’t bury them all
by Patrick Woodcock
$18.95, paperback, 120 pp.
ECW Press, 2016

Written By

Elizabeth Johnston’s video poem, Keepsake, was shortlisted in two film festival competitions, and her poetry has also appeared in the anthology, A Room at the Heart of Things. She received a Canada Council grant to write her non-fiction book, No Small Potatoes, and currently teaches at Concordia University.

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1 Comment

  • Illustrations (and soon enough, notes) for every piece in ‘you can’t bury them all’ can be found at youcantburythemallnotes.tumblr.com

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