Circle Tour by Eva Tihanyi

It’s easy to dismiss “mundane things/cycles and patterns…”, but Eva Tihanyi’s ninth poetry collection urges us not to ignore the lessons in front of us all.  

A deceptively simple call to see the extraordinary in the everyday – not the physical environment, mind you, but the emotions scattered across the scenes of our “mundane” lives – the work is constructed and presented in increasingly intimate layers, moving from the broader social observations (Outer Circle), to our relationships (Inner Circle), to the self (Centre). Its use of symbolism is careful and clear, and because of that craftmanship, the poems are not weighed down or clouded with obscure turns of phrase (even as the subject matter becomes heavy). Rather, her language choices make this an approachable volume for the beginner interested in reading more poetry.

Do not be fooled by the accessibility of her words, though. Each re-reading affords a new look into an endless pool, with more to discover. On my own second turn through the collection, I stopped many times at sections I had read already to look up from the pages and consider the insight Tihanyi just shared. One phrase in particular had to immediately shared with my sister; it now ranks among my favourite quotes ever:

“…What he could not destroy between us: 
the light of forever connection, bright ampersand.” 

What a delicious punch.

Without knowing more about the author than the words on the pages here, it reads like the wisdom of a person who has a healthy respect for painful experiences, but who is strengthened, not discoloured, by it. And with those strong threads, Tihanyi sews each poem together with her calls for mindfulness and promises of a better tomorrow, without being achingly saccharine or disingenuous in its hopes, or ignoring “the past, indelibly present, a haunting watermark”.

When asked, “…why bother with poems about mundane things/cycles and patterns…”, Tihanyi shows us the richness gained by appreciating the “large solace in small things”; by considering that “…each night you re-inherit the stars?”. And I look forward to returning to Circle Tour to see what other treasures I might unearth. 

About the author

Circle Tour is Eva Tihanyi’s ninth poetry collection. Most recently, The Largeness of Rescue (2019) garnered a Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. She has also published a volume of short stories, Truth and Other Fictions (2009). Tihanyi, who taught English at Niagara College from 1989 to 2020, now writes full-time. She lives in the Port Dalhousie neighbourhood of St. Catharines, Ontario.

  • Publisher: Inanna Publications (May 2, 2023)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-77133-893-6

Bryn Robinson lives in Quispamsis, NB, although she still, and always will, consider herself a Saint Johner. She uses her BA in psychology and French, and her PhD in experimental psychology, from the University of New Brunswick, to help her support health research in the province. She prefers contemporary fiction, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels and poetry - and if they are humorous, all the better. When not reading, she's exploring the New Brunswick forests and seascapes, camera in hand.