Einstien's Cat - Reviews

“Personal Political” (Scott Inniss, Canadian Literature, 01/12/2014)
“In Einstein’s Cat, Landale’s language is crisp, her images exact. Landale has a real talent for the tenor-vehicle relation, of which she makes copious use.

”Shawna Lemay, Canadian Poetries, 29/04/2013)
“It would be easy to center a review of Einstein’s Cat on the instances of loss in the poems. Or one could write about the formal intricacies, the use of side text like marginalia which is in turns clever, thoughtful, a shot-to-the-gut…. One could unravel the brilliantly intertwining texts of hero and heroine in the movie, and the real life couple in the remaining poems.

”Einstein’s Cat was featured by The Toronto Quarterly in 2013 as part of the Poetry Month celebrations.

News from the Feminist Caucus, Anne Burke, September 2013

In some of these lyric poems, the poet reorders experience, with a right-hand justified stream of conscious images and a left-hand justified narrative. These synoptic interjections are evidence of synapses in the brain, a network of threads, beads, and deeply buried emotion. The visual landscape shifts into audio, with the calliope going full-blast. The dialogue is reduced to monologue. The dance is indistinguishable from the dancer, in “a range of motion”, nature knows so much “about movement” and, by extension, “alignment” A meditation or contemplation on “home” is reminiscent of Robert Frost’s poem “The Hired Man” (paraphrased here, as home is where, when you need to go there, they have to take you in.”) Similarly, “cedar” is defined by the force of “gravity”.

Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” revolutionized our perceptions of the universe and our own relation to the every expanding universe in which we find ourselves. The speed of light becomes a signifier, as “stories of light” (“properties of light”). The germ of the title poem was hearing the scientist talk on radio, about the wire telegraph, and how it operates, “except the “only difference is that there is no cat.” A woman, post-coitus, is left wondering about allowing “what [an] enormous ghost cat”.

The kingdom of the universe is the subconscious, in which we dream and are child-like. The night sky is peopled by constellations and animal figures. A movie is interpreted differently by a man than a woman. There are almost monthly appearances of particular ghosts. The spirit of a dog and the angel, marital lovemaking is flawed, because of a lack of trust, until such time as he abandons her.

she felt like a blank sheet
of paper when the pen about to write on it
is laid down again by someone: all white(“When He Left, The Air Smelled Like Cold Water and Stone”)

For Landale,

You watch your poems startle
like starlings in a field
in autumn. They cry, rush

(“Working Until You’re the Thinness of An Ironed Shirt”)

The poet adopts cinematic components of hero, heroine in peril, and villain, which she plays out as if in a pantomime, with shadows projected onto a screen. The plot, with a second act, preceding the climax, can be “fast-forward[ed], as are all our memories.

This is Landale’s seventh book.

Aqua, Spring 2012

Award-winning writer Zoë Landale of Pender Island has released a new book of poetry. Published by Wolsak and Wynn Publishers of Hamilton, Ontario, Einstein’s Cat is described as 
“a collection of poetry in multiple voices–capturing the poet’s voice as writer and commentator, as a comfortable married woman and as a silver screen diva. The stunning natural world of the West Coast also features prominently in these well-crafted poems which captivate readers with their wry honesty.”

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