A muscle’s “twitch force” is a measurement of its energy potential. It’s history dependent: you can forget it, but it’s engraved on you where you can’t see it, and all it wants to do is repeat. Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Michael Redhill’s first collection of poetry in eighteen years, Twitch Force has a gnomic, satirical, and lucid intelligence. In “Ingredients,” heredity’s recipe is told via short-form family narrative; in “My Arrangements,” a stolen laptop battery leads to an encounter with the Israeli Olympic women’s beach volleyball team; while in “The Women,” human beauty is parsed down to the level of chromosomes: “I’m beautiful; I have my mother’s feet. The women who change into men are beautiful men who were once beautiful women.”
This is poetry concerned with love and its loss, despair and hard-won hope, knowledge and essential mystery, aging and timelessness. Readers are cautioned: ideas that present as self-explanatory may be closer than they appear. Twitch Force is a stunningly realized return to the form from one of Canada’s bravest and most original poets.