Hairless apes, while they're alive / Need a community to thrive. / Bald fact. Hard-won freedoms of choice and association lead us to flock together in groups of the like-minded. Check is a book of contemporary poetic satire about the groups that we inevitably form and their consequences: in-groups and out-groups and mutual suspicion. When we look around at others, and talk about them amongst ourselves, we agree. Sarah Tolmie writes about parents and teenagers, social media users, different kinds of writers, university professors, feminists, celebrities, pundits -- each one in possession of a different truth and determined to defend it. Hatred and intolerance are always the province of other people, never ourselves. Check begins and ends with the premise that toleration is exceedingly difficult and exasperating; it should not be casually assumed, and failures in it are universal. There has never been a tolerant society before, certainly not a global one.
"Without titles, Tolmie's poems ease into one gripping narrative despite their distinct styles. Perfect and slant rhymes that please the ear and readers' wit are embedded in the causal language of conversation, albeit with a poet friend. Pithy couplets and tercets hold their balance between joke and aphorism." Montreal Review of Books