Saturday, January 26, 2013

Goddess Gone Fishing for a Map of the Universe by Sheri-D Wilson

Performance poet Sheri-D Wilson's latest poetry collection -- her eighth -- is outstanding in every way. Reading Goddess Gone Fishing for a Map of the Universe is like riding a comet while shooting stars crackle in my brain. It is the most invigorating poetry I've yet experienced. Seriously! I could almost feel each zap in my synapse.

It's hard to find a good excerpt because a) there are so many and b) it's hard to find a place to stop without quoting the whole thing.

From 'Ode to My Microscopic Life'

"Ode to the incandescent cantation -- to the dot on a map
Without destination -- all about navigation
I see a woman much older than I look
(Handy perspective) then again,
Maybe I just need stronger glasses
 Wilson's  poem The Barcelona Bakery of
No Return made me feel fortunate that no
bakery bouncers prevented me from taking
photos of cakes in Vienna last year.
Of wine; ode to the optical delusion
And the compass rose and the skeleton
Key, which remind me -- of what

The Cuban Shaman said to me
He said: You are Shango

I replied: I am Yemaya

You are Shango

I am Yemaya



Only Shango would argue they are Yemaya
You are a fierce woman!

Thank-you, I said
I am"

Fierce, intelligent and very funny, Wilson makes wordplay appear effortless. Her encounters at home and abroad are all fodder for her work. A phone call from her mother about a grave plot Sheri-D might like. Being mistakenly construed as the mistress of a 78-year-old Cuban. 'Thrown Out' is her record of the many times she has been thrown out of places and onto the street... and sometimes even off the street.

"And at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump
I was told I could not take pictures
Of the open prairie without written permission."

My favourite incident is when she was thrown out of a bakery in Spain. You can watch Wilson performing 'Barcelona Bakery of No Return' recorded at the launch of Goddess Gone Fishing in Calgary in March 2012. She is also the Artistic Director of the Calgary Spoken Word Festival.

The QR codes in the book prompted me to download a scanning app to my iPod so that I could link to additional material online. It was cool when it worked but I had trouble holding the book open while simultaneously keeping the iPod steady enough for clear focus. The poems on the page are enough for me.

From the Frontenac House publisher's website: "Pervading the book is Wilson's belief that an upsurge in feminine divine energy that will quell the madness of our time." Yay! Poetry to the rescue.

No comments: