His body, like yours, would lie
mute as a plum
until a vigilant limb came
to a decision. As you might have guessed
I've come to one myself.
Moving from the absurdity of the First World War to the chaos of today’s cities, where men share beds, bottles of ouzo and shade from willow trees, these poems ask questions: If your lover speaks in his sleep, how do you know 'you' is you? What good is it to decorate a headstone? What if you think of the perfect comeback to a six-year-Âold argument?Â OtterÂ fails, with style, to find answers.
'Ladouceur writes with an awareness of queer history, documenting it faithfully, but with his own twist â?¦ This is poetry motivated by an honest wit.'
-- John Barton,Â Arc Poetry Magazine
Ben Ladouceur is a writer originally from Ottawa, now based in Toronto. His work has been featured in Arc, The Malahat Review, PRISM international and The Walrus , and in the Best Canadian Poetry anthology. He was awarded the Earle Birney Poetry Prize in 2013.
'OtterÂ has more weight per line than any book I've read since I started this blog.' - Michael Dennis
In a short review of Ben Ladouceur's debut poetry book, Otter, in the Winnipeg Free Press, Jonathan Ballwrites that Ladouceur's lyrical volume 'joins a handful of excellent and explicity books that bring a gay male perspective to the poetry world.' Ball concludes that 'Otter is a startling debut and a dense, rewarding read.'
In a recent review of Ben Ladouceur's Otter, Emma Healey of The Globe and Mail writes that the young poet's debut collection "could just as easily be his 10th [collection]." Healey notes that the power of Otter comes from the fact that "every image, moment and person in these poems is given equal weight, and the way he works them together is both seamless and skillful."
In a review in The Puritan, Stewart Cole writes that Ben Ladouceur's debut poetry book, Otter, in granting 'vivid access to spheres of intimacy between men,' also manages to '[root] his speakers' journeys in unabashed carnality ... with such consistenteloquence and in such consistently compelling contexts that the overall effect is not to shock, but ultimately, to challenge the ludicrousness of the heteronormative mindset from which all opposition to LGBTQAI lifestyles stems.'