Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Circus: By Michael Harris

Michael Harris's newly released collection of poems titled 'Circus' is a roller-coaster ride of circus misfits, sombre stories, delightfully crafted sonnets and real-life testimonials. 

Troupe opens the 'Circus' collection and starts us imagining all the assorted misfits in Harris's circus. We are not disappointed.

From The Bearded Lady to The Dog Trainer, Hang in There to The Ringmaster, Michael weaves tales of extraordinary individuals in sensitive moments of everyday life.

He then moves to poems of actuality with Derelict and Concentrate, where we are faced with our own pasts, frailties and the inevitability of our own deaths.

Making this collection truly delightful and well-rounded, Dr. Suess comes to mind with Hoodiddit and Closet Sonnet. The rhymes are reminiscent of my childhood, having spent many a night reading 'One Fish, Two Fish...' and other tales of trickery.

The book ends with what's real in Speech and The Examiner, bringing us back to the test that is life. Whether we have less teeth or not, we must take a big bite, a big jump and, as Harris writes, start now.

I found 'Circus' a thoroughly enjoyable read. The different voices, timbres and points of view are engaging and eye-opening (and for the chihuahua Oliver, leg-lifting) in their honesty, maturity and genuine understanding of what makes--and doesn't make--human nature tick.

Circus by Michael Harris is published by Signal Editions, an imprint of Vehicule Press.

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