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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > April 2018 > Living in difficulty

Living in difficulty

Jeff Latosik uses juxtaposition and ambiguity to mine truths about the human condition

With a poem, you’re trying to say the unsayable.” As poetic manifestoes go, this one is fairly typical of Toronto’s Jeff Latosik: the language is straightforward, but the statement contains layers of meaning and ambiguity, and is conveyed in a concatenation of apparently opposed ideas. It’s an approach Latosik has been honing since his 2010 debut, Tiny, Frantic, Stronger (which won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry), and extends through his third collection, Dreampad (McClelland & Stewart). His work has an ability to surprise, both in its depth of implication and surface oddness (those moments, in the poet’s own words, when a squid appears in a poem about baseball). Or, as in “Cats” from Dreampad, in the juxtaposition of “porcine diarrhea and condo developers, / two things that wouldn’t have otherwise / explained each other, but in this case they did.”

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About Quill & Quire

The Poets Of Spring; New collections from Shannon Webb-Campbell, Dani Couture, Emma Healey, and Jeff Latosik Page 16