Emily Carr, Directions for Flying /36 fits: a young wife’s almanac
6×9. 80 pages. Paper. $6.00.
ISBN 10: 0982629907. ISBN 13: 978-0-9826299-0-1.
An able pilot on the jet streams of marriage, Emily Carr navigates love’s wind shears and buffets in this calendar of ecstasy and despair. Her weather forecasts provoke, humour and move us. Untying the grammar of bridalship, she finds sparrow and lyric are verbs, while limbo is present participle and mayfly is adjective. Her companions in poetry hover like friendly ghosts around her crisply inventive language – the whole work a fast-moving evocative zoetrope. Meredith Quartermain
“Already the unlasting has started,” Emily Carr writes in her fragmented and achingly beautiful how-to (warning/guideline/almanac) for young wives and young poets. Attempting to salvage the “de-articulate, mirror/ the lunatic bride,” Carr quickly makes us aware that her speaker’s grip on reality is made of borrowed lace. The result is a series of “36 fits.” Installed by month, each perfectly spare poem talks back to the contemporary canon—Frank Bidart, Nick Flynn, Larry Levis, CD Wright, and about twenty-five others. Yet the strongest poem in the book, “yolk (v.)” happens to be the only “fit” not “after” someone else. When we finally get Carr’s unfiltered voice it is naked, long-lined and stunning. Never have I seen a book so much about influence and identity as Directions for Flying. The female speaker, the young wife, fights to carve out her own identity, struggling with love and domesticity, its blessings and pitfalls. Among the chorus of poetic voices, Emily Carr’s rises above—supreme, utterly unique, and definitely lasting. Sarah Messer