Gaits

SPG Weekly Book Picks #24, July 7, 2010
I’m positively wild about Paulette Dubé’s new book. Walking through the numbered poems in Gaits was a meditative experience; they ferried me into the understory — with its seeds, scat, berries, pine needles, creatures, bird song, and autumn leaves (which “follow as brown tap shoes”) — and readers, there’s no place I’d rather be.

Although brief and deceptively simple, the finely-honed pieces are actually multi-layered: the masterly poet weaves descriptions of the natural world, mythology, contemporary life, and philosophy into a spider-fine lace of words.

This is exceptional writing, and I hope the powers-that-be (aka awards’ juries) are paying attention.

Dubé’s finesse with line-breaks frequently demonstrates her technical talent. She writes: “Hummingbird fusses spider web just sodandelion fluff and that red thread will doa nest, is of course practical”.

I don’t know Dubé, but I’m pretty sure that if I did, we’d become fast friends, too. Anyone who gets down on hands and knees to smell calypso orchids; examine the “sharp” and “soft” sides of a grass blade; and sees aspen in “their chic white suits, black seams gleam[ing]” is someone I want to know, and read.

Yes, I’m wild about this book. Thank you, Thistledown Press, for ushering it into the light. What Dubé’s delivered is a textual installation, of sorts: her gallery is nature in all its raw-boned beauty. It’s a fascinating world out there, and folks, the air — like these poems — is mountain fresh.
— Shelley Leedahl