All the People are Poisonous if Eaten Raw

March, 2022
Jeanne Polochansky, Blog Correspondent

I took up the endeavour of reviewing these anthologies for my own pleasure, and for the sake of erudition. Both works were presented to me at the same time and both felt equally distanced from me at first (as often is the case when I, a relatively amateur poet, read seasoned authors). Yet, reviewing these collections prompted me to find ways of incorporating their novel sensations into the ones I have already fostered, and beckoned me to appreciate poems in ways I haven’t done before. I am thankful that they brought me out of my comfort zone – I feel like I have uncovered yet another facet of the literary realm.

Here are my takes on two new anthologies in the modern poetic world.

Review: All the People Are Pregnant

Just as its title suggests, All the People Are Pregnant is a thought-provoking anthology, filled with complex metaphors on birth and childhood. While giving off a detached aura due to the occasional inclusion of academic themes (historical events, neurobiological discoveries), Andrew DuBois’ collection effectively engages the reader, imploring them to create their own perspective. DuBois diversifies the presentations of his poems, skillfully arranging the lines or playing with the sounds of words while still maintaining a consistent flow, to produce unique conclusions otherwise hidden if inferred simply from the title. DuBois’ poetry requires the reader’s full attention — to deduce a deeper meaning, they must pick apart his words like a child peering at beach glass on a shore, marveling at the scatters of light it reflects.

Review: Poisonous If Eaten Raw

Reading Poisonous If Eaten Raw is like looking through a kaleidoscope. Alyda Faber’s anthology is a literary maze of mirrors that reflects fragments of art, internationality, and language in a beautifully sculpted way. While most of her poems revolve around the same topic — the state of having a mother — they never bore the reader; toward this same subject, each poem has its own unique voice. In addition to its content, the physical act of reading Faber’s poetry is a pleasant experience. Whether the reader moves through them quietly or sounds them out aloud, the alliteration, crammed variety of writing conventions, and multilingual fragments of these poems combine to create a visual experience like no other. By writing with vibrant imagery and compelling perspectives, Faber turns traditionally emblematic figures (a Catholic pope, a post-impressionist painting) into idiosyncratic experiences that reveal to the reader previously unknown parts of themselves.

I am thankful that they brought me out of my comfort zone – I feel like I have uncovered yet another facet of the literary realm.

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