Reading Julie Berry’s poetry means entering a new poetic space, crossing thresholds of pain and delight at once raw and refined. like marie d'oignies who buried bloody/ mouthfuls of herself/ in the garden/ i need my poems to be like this, Berry writes in Touching Ground. Like this is finely-turned and constantly surprising, haunting as plainsong, throaty as the blues. Her images are so completely unexpected and yet so thoroughly right that you are left wondering why you never imagined the minute hand [falling] into the refrigerator and breakfast/ … clattering across the lawn/ its spoons and bowls and burning toast. Her eye is keen and quirky; its wide embrace enfolds the highways and cemeteries of southwestern Ontario, flying pianos, her lover’s ex-neck, Elizabeth Graves Simcoe, furniture cleaners, suicides and mass strandings. And of course her reader. Here is a poet whose honesty and wry humour loosen the tangles of the heart. When you walk into the world with these poems in your head, the world has a new clarity, more light. The most startling and unforgettable book of poetry I’ve read in a long time. –Susan Musgrave
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