Julia McCarthy’s Dance With the Darkness

The poet shows us no mercy in the showing of the blackness that exists in this world and the afterlife

In this modern world, where we’ve become accustomed to 140 character tweets and #hashtags, it’s refreshing to feast your eyes on a collection of words that make you think. Words that beg you to take your time and linger in their meaning and intent.

In All the Names Between, Julia’s McCarthy’s third poetry collection, she dances with the dark, the dead and the deep. She invites us to join her. The journey she takes us on is one that merges contemporary living with timeless nature. Her words strike with the living and the dead and all the worlds between. Nature mixes with supernatural and ethereal. Other worlds combine with ghostly essence that makes your spine tingle.

The poet shows us no mercy in the showing of the blackness that exists in this world and the afterlife. Words tangle and tease, a crow becomes memory’s air kiss, bald eagles are death-sentence judgments waiting to occur. Death surrounds us. Animated birds often appear as lost souls or as harbingers of death and decay. Black dogs are bountiful and seem to be used to throw daggers at life itself. Nature is very, very dark. The reader’s head spins as the real becomes unreal and what’s in focus slowly morphs and pulls us down an unexpected rabbit hole. Word after word casts shadows and exposes bone and flesh. Raw emotion abounds.

A particularly striking and memorable line for me is:

In the distance rain is opening its umbrella and soon the river will slur its words.

McCarthy’s newest offering refreshes the soul. A bare-bones soliloquy that passes

in the night like a morbid nightmare we can’t wait to share over the water cooler. It captures us and takes us where we don’t want to go. Soundly slams us with delightfully dished up verbiage and then allows us to return to our own sense of normal. Abashedly content with where we are in real life, until we sneak back for one more peek. One more poem before day’s end.

All the Names Between
Julia McCarthy
Brick Books

Written By

Bobbi Pike is an artist and native of Spaniard's Bay, Newfoundland. She is the author of Newfoundland's first adult colouring book, The Colours of Newfoundland and Labrador, and now Newfoundland's first shareable colouring book, Come Colour With Me in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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