A Generous Latitude

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

A Generous Latitude is filled with strong imagery of relationships and overall life. I had fun reading her writing, there was such retro feel. Grace is from Canada, and I really enjoyed how that played into the poetry. But for me, my favorite part is how pop-cultural plays into these poems. Like ever poetry book, there are some poems I wasn't crazy about but there are many gems in this book. I've bookmarked a few lines that I like. I've found Lenea Grace poetry a good, playful read.
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This book is a fun, honest, serious, satirical book of Canadian poetry. There are so many things about these poems that are quintessentially Canadian, both that I understood, and that I didn't because it was not my past. The poems were both quick to get to and understand, but also had deeper meaning to them. I enjoyed most of the poems and felt like it was an interesting compilation.
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I love books where someone explores an aspect of their identity. In this book Grace explores the land where she was born.
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A Generous Latitude: Poems by  Lenea Grace is the poet's first collection of published poetry. Grace's work has appeared in Best New Poets, The Fiddlehead, Washington Square Review, CV2, Riddle Fence, Grain, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of McGill University, University of Maine at Presque Isle, and The New School. Grace is a founding editor of The Mackinac poetry magazine. She grew up in Texas and Oklahoma, spending her summers at Long Lake and John Island in northern Ontario. She lives in Gibsons, British Columbia.

This is quite an interesting collection of poetry and covers nearly a decade of published work. One thing is clear Grace loves Canada and the summers she spent there. I have lived in Texas for the last thirty years and can understand her love for the north. Leaving Texas in August and spending two weeks in along the coast of British Columbia changes one perspective. It's a completely different world.

Several of her poems are about the experiences of growing up. Although I probably have two decades on her, there are many similarities between that span the decades to include Carling Black Label. Those red and black cans made many a night memorable along with the music -- the stereo sounds of Van Morrison, Jackson Browne, and

...it is always 1979 --
Buckingham and Nicks caught in a freeze frame
"Influence"

"Yukon River" brings back memories of the past. "Highway 17" reflects the freedom of travel and the leaving of the familiar and trespassing onto others land, passing towns, abandon towns, and the slightly absurd restaurant that serves both "Chinese and Canadian food." It is the adventure of growing up and the first tastes of freedom. "Hitchhikers," likewise, combines the excitement and caution of being on one's own. With freedom comes relationships too.

Some experiences are different like "Faceblue" which examines social media and some people's need to photograph everything they eat to everything their cat does. Other poems break things up with random topics. However, most poems reflect on that golden period of young adulthood where the world stretches out before us with promise and excitement. A well-done collection. 



Available April 17, 2018
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If you didn't know this poet was Canadian, you will as soon as you begin this collection. There were references I didn't get but you can still enjoy a work even if that's the issue, unfortunately this work fell flat and didn't work for me.
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RIB 
So she asks him why men chase women
and he does not answer, cocks
one eyebrow, pulls a carving knife from the drawer.
Lady,
it is not your heart I want but the rib you stole. Let me take what is mine.
He has always been a selfish lover.

There were a few gems like this one, but on a whole I felt something was missing and many of the poems fell short for me.
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Thank you so much to ECW for sending me a digital copy of this book for review! Unfortunately, I won't be reviewing this on my blog as I wasn't the biggest fan of the book. I've read a lot of really great poetry this year and while this book had some good parts, I felt like it was a bit too messy and didn't have a flow to it. I found that a lot of the poems seemed too similar (and some not like poems at all - too short) and there wasn't a lot that was memorable by the end. I appreciate that it's something different from a lot of the grittier or the "Hallmark"-type poems that are available, but unfortunately this one just didn't connect with me.
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