Patricia Young's 1993 poetry collection, More Watery Still, colours with anecdote and reminiscence a warm mix of sexuality, commonplace aesthetic appreciation, and familial pangs. It's always a danger speaking in the authorial "I" when the experiences are straightforward rather than a lever for metaphor, but Young manages, through honest emotion, arresting and lucid images and attention to demarcations of personality, to infuse her reveries with, what could easily have sunk to the banal and bathetic, moving collisions of people at circumstantial cross purposes.
The volume's first two efforts -- "When The Body Speaks To The Heart It Says" and "Tobacco Jar, 1867" -- are unusual for what follows: complex paeans to the body (the former-- "Waist-deep I stop in salal, I am trying to be /ruffed as a grouse") and to beauty/art transcending harsh reality (the latter--"This is a tobacco jar though we've always used it for honey").
In these suffocationg decades of mistrust of emotion -- no, of derision for even the possibility of experiencing deep feeling, let alone being able to convey it in affecting encryption -- it's wonderful to read a poet who not only seems to not argue against the obsession with dryness, with insoluble elliptical language games, but who seems blissfully unaware of that faddishness masking as profundity. In fact, I admire and even envy those poets who insouciantly write their poems without reference to those needless agonies, and I support that it's not only not necessary to know a thing about the contemporary history of such, but that it even saves time and angst negotiating with its existence in abstract inconsequentialities.
So "bravo!" to Young when she lays down lines such as "it's my fierce attitude you hate,/O my girl, I/hate it too" and "...I am crazy/for your kisses, the way/you dole them out/like Black/Magic/chocolates ...". Some, perhaps many, would scoff at the sentiment, and it's true that these, and other lines, won't ever be enshrined in a "Best Of ...." modern anthology, but I like the proportion, the clever depiction of fleeting memory, sharply etched. As against so many of what I've been reading lately, Canadian poetry where the strain to be ineffable on every line becomes nauseous, these are lines that ask to be experienced with a little salt, a little lemon, and a little sun, pleasing, and lingering for a while, perhaps to be recalled in a future idle outdoors moment.