Above the Hum of Yellow Jackets, Carol A. Stephen (2011, Bondi Studios) your sideswipe smile, thin lips only/ no eye involvement/ just enough to bait your trap/ no longer enough to spring it/ lost widows and orphans control
Here is a chapbook to delight. You know someone just like she has described above, don’t you. And don’t you wish you’d written a poem about him/her…Carol’s deft word choices, facility with metaphor and connections to the here-and-now make her poems comfortingly precise and on point.
The excerpt above is from her poem ‘no eye involvement’ from this chapbook; I love its perfect title. Carol lives in Carleton Place, a small town, our small town, but her poems encompass the places she has been, her neighbourhood, her garden, as well as emotion, description and philosophy. When she takes you to a place, you will discover something you never knew or never noticed before. Or you will discover it anew from inside yourself.
From ‘I enter the Museum of London expecting the usual mummies’.
Chill bathes my arms in wonder /so strong I catch my breath / Here are roots of family and / history: this place, this city where / ancestors walked. Connection. / My shoulders soften into the / sense of yes, of coming home.
There’s a sense of reeling, of changing your preconceptions, the relief of finding what you’ve never known you’ve lost, the ‘yes’ of self recognition.
She uses sound to enhance that physical rounding of shoulders: bathes, arms, so, strong, roots, history, place, ancestors, shoulders, soften, sense, yes… all the ‘s’ sounds and the soft ‘c’. She is recognizing ‘home’ in the London Museum, but home also finds its place in her.
Carol can also be funny and political in the same poem, this poem for example: ‘Concrete saints are lining up along the curb’:
“…of garden gnomes no longer ornamental but / spiritual leaders in the suburban sprawl of // disillusioned former employees displaced by / off shore workers paid in rupees or pesos…”
I am particularly fond of a poem in which she describes that neighbour in every neighbourhood , the busybody, the know-all with the eagle eye and ear, but you will have to get a copy of Above the Hum from Carol by connecting with her blog, Quillfyre, in which Carol collects and disperses poetry, along with information about what is happening in the Ottawa Region poetry world.
I am very pleased to have been one of Carol’s first publishers. Carol has since published other chapbooks: Architectural Variations, (2012), Ink Dogs in my Shoes (2014, Nose In Book Publishing, B.C.) and a third with J.C. Sulzenko, (2015, Nose In Book Publishing).