some conditions apply by Mary Rykov

When I open a book from Inanna I know I have something worthwhile. Strong, independent feminist work, a mosaic of talent and voice. Mary Rykov’s some conditions apply came to me electronically, during isolation. At times a mobile device, laptop or reader, can lack experiential feel, bound paper enhancing a book’s tone. Not so in this case. Stylized structure and layout still speak, uniquely tactile through my screen’s soft glow, dimmed a little, enlarged a lot (I’m still awaiting new glasses). Despite a predominantly quarantined existence, I find myself outdoors, virtually, with Rykov’s post-shooting sonnet:

 

Sparrows hop / the sultry pool deck / scrounging snack crumbs / while squeals and screams / belly laughs and belly flops / flips and plops / punctuate / splashes // Crickets chirp / and birds beg / in flux, in fright, / and in the all / and in the nothing / that changes

Exuberance in onomatopoeic alliteration, I’m tensed, anticipating the inevitable dowsing of a poolside splash. But the season of swimming, songbirds, and water toys refuses to linger, referenced as inevitable change. With that shift, summer doesn’t notice:

 

Cicadas complain overhead / Leaves crunch underfoot // Conkers break open / where they fall // Light dies early now / with chill of evening air // Summer blinks / and flees

Fled, but not forgotten. Recalling it all with a satisfied sigh, I find comfort as we share a song – the poetry of music with inherent national pride. This is singing Cohen:

We sang your honey / when our youth / was new We lean // this way / forever, / travel blind

Travelling blind. How it must, or ought to ensue. Departures and destinations – planned perhaps, but invariably variable. Before settling in with Rykov’s work, I made a disciplined point of first finishing a writing exercise, a weekly endeavour derived from a prompt. Which made me smile as I came to this, realizing we writers are all alike. This is our author’s writing prompt:

 

Using freshly moulted feathers / from fledgling sparrows / write your name / as it appeared / in yesterday’s / obituary // Let them squawk, / don’t stop // Keep both hands moving / across the sky

Nodding again to nature, time, the creativity of melding media – inward and out. Mary Rykov’s some conditions apply is a beautiful collection of work, one to be savoured, wherever you are, and by whatever means that you read. While time, at this time, is seemingly slowed, still we enjoy a seasonal shift – literal and softly allegorical, from the sounds of summer, avian transition and pulse of a seasonless song, these are creatures captured humanely, with an expiry date of never.

See also  The History Forest by Michael Trussler


About the Author: Puerto Rican-Canadian María Helena Auerbach Rykov lives in Toronto. Her writing appears online and on paper in numerous venues. More at maryrykov.com.


Title: some conditions apply
Author: Mary Rykov
Publisher: Inanna Publications, May 26, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-77133-765-6
Pgs: 98 pp
Reviewer: Bill Arnott

*Please note if you choose to purchase this book (or Kindle version) through Amazon using the link below we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/3dc4U6v Thanks! 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

Yes, I would like to receive emails from The Miramichi Reader. Sign me up!



By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Miramichi Reader, 543 Williston Drive, Miramichi, NB, E1V5X8, https://miramichireader.ca. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Sorry, but you cannot copy the content of this page. Please contact us if you wish to share any portion of this post. Thank you.