An ambivalent zoo-tour, an open-eyed meander through a landscape of made and contained things.
A Page from The Wonders of Life on Earth is a book with a coherent vision of nature—constructed or framed, both in the present and in the recent past—through zoos, apiaries, formal gardens, menageries, and books like the Time-Life one named in the title. Informed by the author's grand tour of these zoos and gardens, these poems provide a strong lens for considering the many paradoxes of inter-species relations; they open up the possibility of honest, unsentimental elegy. The book is also a model of what might be called investigative poetry, taking the poet's combination of perceptual acuity, craft, music and sensibility into these richly troubled places (prisons of, monuments to, museums for the lost natural world) where "arcades sell postcards of old photographs of the arcades," and where questions of what it means to be human, to be animal, to be other and to be art are tangibly in the air. This is Bolster's best work.
"Bolster has a quiet confidence ... Her pacing is exquisite, engaging readers with apparent simplicity that turns into brilliant complexity at the flick of a line."--Candace Fertile, The Maple Tree Literary Supplement
"This is a book which, under the guise of looking at man's confining attitude toward the natural world, meditates profoundly on the contemporary condition. It is further confirmation of Stephanie Bolster's status as one of Canada's finest young poets."--Ian Pople, Manchester Review
" ... A searching, hungry, and agile mind hurrying over the full range of her research and experience, the full breadth of her various passions."--Nick Thran, Quill and Quire
"The poems read like small essays. And the finest end so wonderfully, just before they end ... "--rob mclennan