Elizabeth Rhett Woods
Walking, as Wordsworth knew, can take us to a place we have never been before. In her new collection Woman Walking: Selected Poems Elizabeth Rhett Woods wanders the world as we know it, singing secular hymns to contemporary life. For decades now, Woods has been writing clear and austere poems of straightforward brilliance and Woman Walking is a compilation of the many directions her path has taken her. An accomplished prose stylist as well, Woods poetry extends from the challenging yet ironic discourse on gender politics of Men through the rich personal lyricism of Absinthe of Desire to the political charged docu-narrative of 1970: A Novel Poem––a stylistic range spread over her career governed by personal integrity and by exemplary moral committment. Walking is both a way to engage with the world, like Wordsworth, and a way to discover personal rhythm. In the slow velocity of contemporary life, moving as a woman, through the world, a sideways glance down a dark alley reveals a dissonant reality, as men and wormen strive to become something other than they are. The poetry of Woman Walking is propelled by an intricate narrative, in a direct and unembellished lyric line, that offers stories of men and women learning to endure the burden of life and find brief moment of happiness or longing, joy and laughter, pehaps a little rage, all of which makes us human. Woman Walking: Selected Poems takes us on a slow walking journey, gathering stories as one would stones on the beach, reflecting the world as it is without ceremony or adornment. The poems are deceptivly simple and direct, taking us to where we are going, immersed in the ordinary but finding the extraordinary in everything. Sensual and succinct, they are imbued with a penetrating honesty and an austere fidelity.
Rhett Woods has published five books of poetry and three novels, including
Beyond the Pale (Ekstasis Editions, 2006) and the underground
classic The Yellow Volkswagen (PaperJacks, 1971). Her poetry
and plays, including the 90-minute verse play Maya (Tuesday Night,
1974) have been broadcast on CBC Radio. She lives in Victoria, BC
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