Allow Me: Poems 2000-2020
are tender, grave poems and it's as though the poet is encountering everything—a
fox, a tunnel, a lily, a sunset—for the first and last time. Allow
Me is an eyes-cracked meditation on time, what we do with it, and
how it treats us. We must pay attention to the silences between comings
and goings, between lines and stanzas and poems; the poems themselves
are loud with life and what comes to life from the other side.
In Allow Me the past is second-guessed, the present might be
bleak and the future tenuous, but the voice in this book is ultimately
resilient. These poems have a wicked vein of humour that sparkles unexpectedly,
like a shaft of sunlight on deep water: there’s laughter in the dark here.
These poems are bright, direct, and sure; fully present on every page.
Rhonda Batchelor speaks plainly and timelessly, with vivid focus, from
a life which gathers the force of its perspective into poetry of wit and
Rhonda Batchelor has worked in and around publishing, as a writer, editor,
publisher, bookseller, and consultant, since the 1970s. She and her late
husband, the poet Charles Lillard, operated Reference West Press, publishing
over 100 chapbooks by some of Canada’s finest writers. The accompanying
readings, The Hawthorne Series, ran from 1990 to 2000. Her own poetry
titles include Bearings (Brick Books), Interpreting Silence
(Beach Holme), and Weather Report (Dundurn Press). She recently
retired as a long-time assistant editor of The Malahat Review
and lives in Victoria, British Columbia.