The Vanishing Act (& The Miracle After)

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Pub Date 01 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2023

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The Vanishing Act (& The Miracle After) is an existential meditation on grief—the kind of grief which pins you down and minimizes you. The first half of the collection, The Vanishing Act, captures the ruminations of a mind which feels trapped physically and spiritually. The imagery in this section blends magic and violence as the speaker confronts systemic issues as a middle-class woman, a person of colour, and a survivor of abuse. The second section, (& The Miracle After), offers a fresh perspective on recovery. As the speaker revisits images of bodily harm, objects previously used for violence are brought back to a state of benign normalcy. With the arrival of spring, the speaker contemplates renewal and the paradoxical nature of taking agency of her life, while knowing the act of survival is made possible only because of miraculous intervention.

The Vanishing Act (& The Miracle After) is an existential meditation on grief—the kind of grief which pins you down and minimizes you. The first half of the collection, The Vanishing Act, captures...

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ISBN 9781771837958
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Very interesting story. Short and to the point. This book made me think and reflect a lot after reading it. This book can be finished in one reading but there will be many life values that can be found.

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I really liked this poetry book. It is split into 2 sections. The first half is about grief and the second half is about grief. Each of the poems described a particular feeling with such power that the imagery is clear in the reader's mind.

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Great selection of poems on a variety of topics, ranging from more macro level observations to more micro/personal level musings. This collection had a full range of emotional representation. I personally really resonated with the poem entitled Gaslighter.

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Vanishing Act is a deeply personal book of poetry surrounding womanhood, "tragedies you wish you could have avoided", memory and mothers, certain aches and weights we feel forever, time and the stains we can never relinquish, despite that time. And in the Miracle After, these grievances and stains are comforted, as the speaker talks themselves down, talks down the living and non living things that surround them. The speaker finds solace in staying still, in losing one's mind, in being somewhat broken and aging. This speaker and this poet are incredibly wise and honest, as they seem to be working through the most universal problems of identity and life itself on the page, never truly finding resolution that we all crave. If you're someone that appreciates this unresolved conflict—the simple conversation and confession of grief—you will enjoy this book.

What I loved:

This is one of my quirks, but I am particularly enamored with first lines. And the first lines of this book are some of my favorites ever. I love most when first lines are images: "you cupped together / a bowl of grapes" or "there is something moving / behind the stove. It might have a tail", However, there are very statements to some of these that I love equally as much: "So you fucked it up in a way / you didn't know you could" or "In the end, the breath may be / the last to leave". With first lines like this, I never wanted to skip around to the next most exciting thing.

The personification through the second half of the book is spectacular. We give animals and inanimate objects grief and a voice. Moments of dialogue (and rhetorical questions), even from these non-human characters, were disorienting in the best way. The best example is in "Call and Response" where the rooms begin talking to the speaker. I am not sure what this madness is stemming from, but I think this disorientation is purposeful.

What I didn't love as much:

I think there could be more variety in the title of poems, as most of them were one worded or extremely short. While there is great variety in the form, the titles were not as exciting and it was very easy to skip over them. "By the Laundromat on Sainte-Catherine Street" broke this mold and I love the title very much! "Semblance of a Narrative" was another one of my favorites because it felt playful and informed the poem.

Moments I loved:

"I want to be / more than an animal / happening to itself"

What the Living Do in its entirety.

"In the new world; / my tongue is pink & my name is King / and I need not wear my womanhood / like a flag of surrender"

"If I could repel you / towards hope, I would"

"I find a God / who is not an active listener, / who takes too long to reply to prayers, / who appears only to disbelievers"

"Though labor is necessary, / it is not purpose"

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