Fugue with Bedbug by Anne-Marie Turza

Anne-Marie Turza’s Fugue with Bedbug is a puzzle worth encountering. Nonhuman subjects of the poems perform absurd delights, whimsical images drive each stanza, and footnotes contain fact and riddle alike.

Turza’s collection follows the general structure of a musical fugue, concluding with an actual piece of music. As a reader who is not musically oriented, I still enjoyed following the threads of ekphrasis, existential dread, and lyric that propel us through the early poems to the long poem at the center, “Slip Minute”:

Slip minute is a problem term in brouhaha vernacular.
Don’t blunt it with dull diagrams. 
Don’t word word word another word.

Shorter poems exploring Fugue’s unique world that blurs history and space resume after “Slip Minute,” and the collection closes with appendices: a poetic essay and the aforementioned fugato. The book’s composition is inarguably intentional; while most poems could stand alone, Turza makes excellent use of the art of the poetry collection.

Fugue with Bedbug is an uncanny and warm exploration of life, grounding abstract topics in focused imagery and references from science and media from various time periods. The poems come together to make a lyrical world in which massive questions are answered by subjects as local as a snail (“The One Snail Theory of Metaphysical Events”). Each poem earns its place in the collection, even the seemingly mundane subjects or images made universal by way of their neighbouring elements. Those who enjoy play with language and poetics will greatly appreciate Turza’s Fugue.

ANNE-MARIE TURZA is the author of The Quiet (House of Anansi Press) and the chapbook Slip Minute (Baseline Press). She lives on Vancouver Island.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ House of Anansi Press (April 5 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 116 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1487010729
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1487010720

Zoe Shaw is a writer, editor, and administrator based in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal. She is managing editor at carte blanche literary magazine. Her major interests are in gender and sexuality, ecocriticism, and the elegy in British Romantic poetry, which she explored in her master’s thesis at McGill University. @zoestropes on Instagram. Her website is http://zoeshaw.com/