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Poetry Canadian

Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway

by (author) Alexandra Oliver

Initial publish date
Sep 2013
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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A National Post Best Book of Canadian Poetry 2013

"Alexandra Oliver has many arrows in her quiver-all of them sharpened to a fine point. This is an excellent and entertaining collection."-TIMOTHY STEELE

In Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway, Alexandra Oliver zooms in on the inertias, anxieties, comedies, cruelties, and epiphanies of domestic life:

They all had names like Jennifer or Lynne or Katherine; they all had bone-blonde hair, that wet, flat cut with bangs. They pulled yourchair from underneath you, shoved their small fists in your face. Too soon, you knew it would begin, those minkish teeth like shrapnel in the air, the Bacchic taunts, the Herculean dare, their soccer cleats against your porcine shin, that laugh, which sounded like a hundred birds escaping from a gunshot through the reeds- and now you have to face it all again: the joyful freckled faces lost for words in supermarkets, as those red hands squeeze your own. It's been so long! They say. Amen.

Oliver's poems, which she describes as "text-based home movies," unveil a cinematic vision of suburbia at once comical and poignant: framed to renew our curiosity in the mundane and pressing rhyme and metre to their utmost, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway is a five-star performance from Canada's new formalist sensation.

"Alexandra Oliver is in full command of a saber wit and impeccable ear. Lucky the reader along for the ride."-JEANNE MARIE BEAUMONT

"Brilliantly contemporary poems in traditional forms, the work of a stunning new voice."-CHARLES MARTIN


About the author

Contributor Notes

Alexandra Oliver was born in Vancouver, Canada and divides her time between Toronto and Glasgow, Scotland. &nbspHer most recent book is 'Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway' (Biblioasis).&nbspShe currently teaches in the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine."

Editorial Reviews

Oliver writes as though wit were her middle name...she is an assassin clever and precise as a clock." - Michael Dennis

"An incredible feat of vision and voice...technically, nothing is out of Oliver's grasp. Her go-to iambic pentameter can swallow anything in its path. Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway should go a long way toward establishing Oliver as one of the country's best stanza makers, with a fluidity and ambition aspiring to Dylan Thomas or Yeats...When she succeeds, she succeeds entirely." - National Post

"Theatrical, funny, formally ingenious, Alexandra Oliver's poems revel in their extravagance. A slam poet turned formalist, Oliver takes a cue from Larkin's "Pleasure Principle," her poems little machines precision-crafted for the reader's pleasure." - National Post

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