Monday, May 21, 2012

Review of Origins

Darryl Whetter's first poetry collection Origins received a starred review in Quill & Quire. You can read the entire review at

Here is a section of the review:

"Origins is divided into two sections, “The Part” and “The Counterpart,” an idea borrowed from evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, who provides the book’s epigraph. In Gould’s formulation, a found fossil is the part, and the impression left by a long-dead organism is the counterpart. In Whetter’s collection, “The Part” explores notions of evolution, ruin, and regeneration, with a particular focus on human resistance to change and discovery. “Joggins for years just a billboard / and a staircase. billion-kissed fossils / pilfered by the bucketful while / local school kids / coloured photocopies / of Johnny Appleseed.” So says “Fossils,” about the Joggins Fossil Cliffs in the Bay of Fundy, now regarded as the most complete record of life in the Coal Age. There’s nothing ornamental in these spare lines: every word is weighted, and the enjambment forces the reader to pause and evaluate the foolishness of the scene. The collection’s second part examines the more recent history of Joggins and its inhabitants. The scathing “Privileged Young Men Who Hate Creativity” is a standout. Whetter’s critical eye is felt throughout, but no other poem hits this hard: “yuksters in dialled baseball caps / with their TSN, bright sneakers and cheap / pens twirled over stubby fingers. / an aversion to cunnilingus so total / they don’t even notice / Saturday night Jenn rolling her pelvis up.” Such unabashed aggression is so refreshing that a reader can’t help but hope Whetter stays on this poetic detour."