Reviews & Responses
The Year in Books: 2020 – Our annual review of new books by local authors and illustrators.
Marion Frazer’s collection of poems is like a leisurely visit with a good friend. In spare, pared-down language, the conversation ranges from family and joyful pleasures to politics and grief. Each poem reaches out for meaningful connection and, in doing so, reminds us that when we share our experiences, joy expands and adversity becomes easier to bear. Marion Frazer was showcased as Caledon Public Library’s writer of the month in April 2020. (FriesenPress, $20)
I had to say how much I enjoyed As I Was Saying! I so relate to Frazer’s mordant wit, and at the same time, am moved by the poems about family, especially, and being a parent. Bravo! I await the next one!
Although I occasionally read poetry books, I sometimes find myself feeling lost and a little apprehensive. That comes from a sense of not sensing a connection. But the opposite is true of As I Was Saying. The writing and the physicality of the book made me comfortable. It’s the kind of book that I can take time out with a glass of wine and breathe with it. I like the vivid attention to ordinary details and the emotional satisfaction of tightly written and accessible wordplay. It was a fun read.
I’m not a poetry reader, so I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this book. I just kept it near me, picking it up now and then to read a couple of poems. And they accompanied me as I went about my day. That was appropriate, as Marion writes about everyday life, the joy and desperation of going from one day to the next. As I read, I wondered which poem would be “mine”, as she said in an interview that there’s a poem for everyone. Was it “I Was Yours” about that moment when you become a mother and everything is forever different? Or one of the painful ones about the teenage years? Or “Aging”, humorous and evocative? Marion has an uncanny ability to put the most elusive feelings into words, poking and shaping those blobs of emotion into something that can be shared with others. She writes with a delicate touch, flitting from one subject to another in her observations about dogs and baths and ghosts, but overall there’s a quiet fierceness–grounded in love–that permeates the pages. I am grateful to have had this book as part of my summer.
Reading Marion’s book of poems was akin to being struck by lightning–a few times. I recognized so many important shared human moments. She paints them so vividly they somehow feel as though they are happening at that moment, that they are universal. What a gift! Keenly awaiting the next volume.
@ annebrodie |Noon Weekends@1059TheRegion |www.whatshesaidtalk.com
I interrupted my current prose reading to read Marion’s book right away, and I’m much impressed. Because I’m a charter member of the Less is More Brotherhood of Brief Poets, I appreciate the incisiveness of her sharp insights into human emotion and behaviour. There is much wisdom here. In many instances, I thought, “I wish I had written that”. I most appreciated the various family poems. So many of them conclude with power. I’ve often criticised the work of other poets who evidently feel emotion, but fail to elicit a similar response in the reader. But Marion’s readers likely feel what she feels, perhaps because her specific observations have a sense of universality. We share the intensity of feeling, often viscerally, because we have shared comparable experiences. – www.davidolsenpoetry.net
I must say that “Being a Parent” was one of the most impressive poems in my memory. In a mere 32 words, appearing visually on the page like a daydream, like a parent, Marion Frazer managed to capture the intensity, the passion, the obsession and above all the inherent anxiety which is evoked in a love as selfless and infinite as that which she has illuminated.
I haven’t read much poetry in the past, but Marion’s work is really an invitation to read more of it–so punchy, impactful, and relatable. Even the poems to which I could not directly relate (yet)–such as those on parenting–I found very moving.
I’m enjoying this poetry so much!
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