At Issue

Front Cover
Coach House Books, 2001 - Poetry - 67 pages
0 Reviews

Karen Mac Cormack, in collaboration with British poet Alan Halsey, made a terrific splash with FIT TO PRINT, an examination of the poetic possibilities of the newspaper column. She's back now, with At Issue, a sequel of sorts that continues Mac Cormack's incisive investigation of the language of popular media.

Creating a kind of poetic dialogue with the form and content of lifestyle magazines such as Vogue (both British and American versions), Self (a health and fitness magazine geared to a female readership) and Prevention (another health magazine), the poems often take the form of critical commentary on the images and texts in these magazines. Sometimes Mac Cormack quotes directly, but more often she addresses these words and pictures obliquely, using a dazzling array of poetic techniques. In 'At Issue IX,' for example, she writes, 'Hermèswraps your fingers around a splash / opting for contradiction / an originality competition / "as if there aren't enough ironies already" / but how can a hat be whimsical?'

The strength - and beauty - of the poems in At Issue is that they manage to be critical without being condescending. This is language with style. A startling, always inventive blend of mass culture and avant-garde writing practice.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Karen Mac Cormack is the author of eight previous books of poetry, including Quirks & Quillets, Marine Snow and The Tongue Moves Talk. Her work has appeared in such anthologies as The Art of Practice: Forty-five Contemporary Poets, Out of Everywhere: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America and the UK, and Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing byWomen. Born in Zambia, she is based in Toronto.

Bibliographic information