Only This Blue: A Long Poem with an Essay
2005 The Mercury Press
When faced with a life-threatening experience, one expects to be confronted with the big questions. What, however, can prove to have far more impact, is the disorientation and re-vision that alters not only our sensations but perceptions of the normally unremarkable bits of the everyday. Warland evokes these startling moments and enlists her reader in the intrigue of this changed state of consciousness. Written like a poetic symphony in four colour movements, Nicole Brossard described it as: “A book of colours brought back to beauty and meaning, which stays with us as an embrace.”
Betsy Warland has gained a reputation for saying what few writers risk fixing in print…Not a word is wasted. However, as the reader discovers, sometimes what is excised speaks most clearly.
It’s as if a tide is running through the book. A cityscape, seen by the narrator, becomes imbued with meaning. Her sudden uncanny relation to her body is compared to losing one’s childhood home: ‘the address was right but / the house torn down, / creek filled in, / hill gone.