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An Enthusiast

Karen Solie, 3 November 2016

... Endless heritage beneath the heavenly soundshed. Jet-black amphiboles. Ten varieties of scones in Elie. Giant centipedes and petrified tree stumps of the Devonian fossil record. Pyrope garnets at the foot of the Lady’s Tower aren’t quite rare enough to acquire significant market value, much like the self-taught experts in autobrecciation and exfoliation weathering who work their way to the surface of the Coastal Path at the close of a hard winter ...

A Miscalculation

Karen Solie, 2 March 2017

... Like a king from a promontory the kestrel presides from an updraft, an array of barely perceptible movements sustaining balance and attention, and the woodmouse, the shrew, the secondary characters, know whose watch they’re under. There are no bystanders among them. The razorbill’s piety winters at sea, is secular and medium-sized, black above, white below; while, frontloaded with military technology, gannets send notes of the aquatic scale straight to the emotional signature clusters, though the proprietors of these emotions are to them as senseless an element as the shadow I cast over a vole’s workday, my presence too non-specific for relevance ...

Dust

Karen Solie, 4 August 2022

... Returning home from evening massin the big car,they were like canal boats thensliding through the loose gravel, in the back seatshe pushed my cuticles upwith a silver file not unpainfullyto expose the half-moons, she saidGod put them there, he likes to see them.An empty bottle rolled under the passenger seatand back out againas my grandfather droveone foot on the gas, one on the brake,it was a clear glass bottle with white lettering,and a sense of the conditional crept in through the ventslike dust, the incense of the roadscrubbing the air of clarity, of all else but the demands of dustwhat you need replacedwith what you don’t, you are ignoredby everything as you struggle with it ...

Two Poems

Karen Solie, 18 May 2017

... Crail Spring Surprised on returning to find the flat flooded with light. Merciless, evaporative, even when overcast, and, as the solstice neared, sanctimonious in its imperative to productivity. An expert with his pen-light wondering how you let it get this bad. That tone. We were out all day in the clarity of errors that had multiplied into reality ...

All Fresh Today

Michael Hofmann: Karen Solie, 3 April 2014

The Living Option: Selected Poems 
by Karen Solie.
Bloodaxe, 160 pp., £9.95, October 2013, 978 1 85224 994 6
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... Introducing Karen Solie, I would adapt what Joseph Brodsky said some thirty years ago of the great Les Murray: ‘It would be as myopic to regard Mr Murray as an Australian poet as to call Yeats an Irishman. He is, quite simply, the one by whom the language lives.’ Solie is Canadian (born in 1966, in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, of Norwegian immigrant stock), the author of three previous books of poems, Short Haul Engine (2001), Modern and Normal (2005) and Pigeon (2009), and now this ‘new and selected’, and, yes, she is the one by whom the language lives ...

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