Monkey Soap


Glen Downie

ISBN 978-1-77126-028-2

$17.00 CDN/USA
80 pages

A sculptor, someone said, carves an elephant from a block of stone by chipping away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant. So in Monkey Soap, Glen Downie wields a poet’s incisive chisel to reveal poems hidden in other people’s prose.
Not only a sculptor of language, but a loving archaeologist of lost or abandoned voices, Downie ministers here to words from distant eras and disciplines: an 1825 treatise on gourmandism;
an early 20th century penmanship training manual; the cynical
dialogue of film noir; food essays from the rationed war years; a 1964 handyman’s guide; and sartorial advice from the 1990s. What he calls “a choir of available voices” makes new and strange music in this eccentric collection.
Try Monkey Soap. It’s good for washing dull familiarity off our language, and the dirt out of our ears. In so doing, it restores a poetry we didn’t realize was there.


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