Winnipeg Free Press review of In the Tiger Park

Vivid Verse from trio of Manitoba Poets
Reviewed by: Winnipeg Free Press

In the Tiger Park (Coteau, 72 pages, $17) is Winnipeg's Alison Calder's followup to her debut Wolf Tree, which won two Manitoba Book Awards.

Calder's poems are spare and stark, taking an unsentimental approach to a natural world that, historically, is socially constructed, poetically romanticized and brutally undone.

Calder worries over this poetic obsession, and how to tackle the subject without stepping into the common traps. One poem begins with "F--k off, moon! Get out of my poems," while another, about the polar bear cub Knut, starts off: "He's a psychopath, like Britney Spears."

In a different poem, about the frustrations of writing itself, Calder uses animals as metaphors for the failure of her metaphors. Subtle, wry and self-conscious in the best sense, the poems wrestle with themselves as they struggle towards the sublime.

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