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The Book I Never Read

ISBN: 1-9323-3926-4

By: Bobbi Lurie
Review by: Moira Richards

January 2009

The Book I Never Read is Bobbi Lurie’s first book of poems. It was published in 2003, she has since published a second book and her third poetry collection is due out in 2009. Her poems comprise for the most part, reflections on all aspects, moods of life and people who live it. They are often humorous, sometimes gently ironic. A clue to Lurie’s eclectic approach can be gleaned from the title poem of the book,

Life slips past me like pages in a book I never read
Because between what I said and what I felt
Between what I wanted and what I did
Is a gap/ an emptiness
And something in me cries for this

And the longing fills every crevice of my imaginary self
And makes another story (“The Book I Never Read” 33-34)

I enjoyed the delicate touches, clever plays with words that Bobbie Lurie often uses to good effect in her work, as in this poem narrated by the daughter of a woman who seems to be suffering from some sort of senile dementia, perhaps Alzheimer’s disease.

When I speak, my mother’s eyes jerk
momentarily towards me as if I am
a sound in the trees, a bird pecking away
at the morsel of peace she has found. (“Visiting Day, Casa Tranquilo” 91)

And one of my favourites in The Book I Never Read (which I have both read and enjoyed :-) is a long, delightfully rambling and absorbing account of movie-goings and conversations between the narrator and her teenaged son. The two have just been to a screening of a recent Charlotte Rampling movie.

You’ve got to let me rent a video to make up for this,
my son says emerging from the dark theater,
the light in the lobby haloing his rumpled hair
as he drags his denim jacket across the floor, across the debris
of popcorn and abandoned straws. This movie sucks.
I hate watching old people have sex. (“Against Romanticism” 20-32)

Bobbie Lurie’s poems are grouped loosely according to topic, so one can page through the collection to poems on love and on loss and best of all, on being a poet. I’m looking forward to reading more work by this poet.


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