A.B. Dillon's newest collection is a hybrid of memoir and prose poetry, curated masterfully upon the physics of flock behaviour called murmuration, which uses the rule of sevens — the idea that an optimal balance can be achieved when the birds interact with about seven of their neighbors. This is the construct that is used for the poet to delve into personal loss, grief, and redemption.
These poems create reader intimacy through precision and expansiveness, revelation and inventiveness. The energy, playfulness, and acuity of the language pulls us up and into the swell of emotion, to subsume and vault us through the human condition. Murmuration is, at its core, a consideration of interconnectedness.
About the author
A. B. Dillon was born in 1968 in Owen Sound, Ontario. She now lives in Calgary, Alberta, where she devotes her time to writing and counselling. Her poetry has been featured in FreeFall, Café Beano Anthology and the Calgary Herald. She has also been published in Swerve, Avenue Magazine and Where Calgary. This is her first collection of poetry.
Excerpt: Murmuration (by (author) A.B. Dillon)
P align=left>My father could pull a plough
you used to say P align=left> Like a giant he was, with a chest this broad—
your two arms spread wide, to show me
and I'd imagine this colossus of a man
working the field in the rain
cooing to his Gypsy Cob mare while the old ridging plough cut furrows
through the heavy soil P align=left>morphing from a sodden field in Blackwatertown, Co Armagh
collective memories encoded in bone and sinew,
passed down from him to you and to me,
to quark through my hands like premonitions,
and into the clay loam of this dry garden (all of us labouring,
while Rome falls seven times)
SaskBook Reviews, Shelley A. Leedahl
“Rarely does a first book make me question: what is this magic? I need to know who and how. When done exceptionally well, poetry, especially, can stir a cell-and-bone dance like no other genre. It’s just happened. Calgary poet A.B. Dillon’s Matronalia slices into the depths of what it is to mother a daughter, and to be mothered by a woman whose ideologies differ greatly from her own. With extraordinary skill, Dillon spins the prosaic into the profound.”
Herizons, Kerry Ryan
“The speaker in this collection refuses to conform to modern expectations about motherhood. She doesn’t organize place dates or mom’s groups. Instead she urges her daughter to be resilient, rejoice in herself and engage with art. These poems are what she can’t say out loud to her child: ‘When you have this disease, you speak in / tongues. The best way I can speak to you is in words on a page.’
As a manifesto about a mother’s inability to love, it fails; Dillon’s beautiful poems are all heart.”