Groping in the Daylight: poems by Augusta Wynde

Groping in the Daylight: poems by Augusta Wynde was illustrated by Alice Burdick. The illustrations are pencil sketches of domestic things, olive oil bottle, canned food, mason jar, teapot, etc. These are in high contrast to the cosmic reach of the poems, the reflective tone of the larger universe where there’s –

a synapse
under the brain’s nightdress

(p. 7)

The language is striking and fresh in reach without being self-important, adding humour to the poetic palette such as in “Bout” which you’ll have to buy to see — no spoilers on that.

17 poems over 26 pages make it a good size for a sit and read session with an opening epigraph from Nietzsche. The poems gesture freely, not in a tight little polite conversational box. The risk here would be to not know when to stop quoting favourite energetic lines:

What happens to you conceptually
is just as important
as what happens to you chemically

(p. 11)

It’s sweet when a poem drops ideas that you can just let sit and open like a chamomile blossom. 

There’s a lovely balance of levity and profundity so the subject of god can be engaged and at the same time be grounded in wry humour which I can happily re-read a few times. The diction is lively, a controlled kind of reined-in frantic. “Quitsville”, “writhing”, and “caprice” aren’t mundane and expected. While there is vulnerability there isn’t that common reach in poems for pathos. There is humour without being icing out readers in opaque avoidance. It strikes a good balance. 

While there are lyrical moments, there’s also a poetic stretch in the poem “Friendship”. It is a list poem, with each line progressing through what is emblematic of what friendship looks like through different ages. We are trusted to be intelligent enough as readers to read between the lines of “Friend. school bus. Friend, gawk. Friend barrettes. Friend, tell” vs “Friend, initiate. Friend, caffeinate. Friend, perambulate. Friend, here.” It’s an interesting engagement with the universal markers. 

Textured cover stock with French flaps and bright blue and brilliant yellow inside-cover house the poems in high production values. The chapbook is made by the Little Books Collective, a community-building micropress on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. The season’s lineup is at the Spot of Poetry website.

Augusta Wynde grew up surrounded by hemlocks, horses, and hirsute hippies. As a young adult, she travelled, learned words, and fell head over heels. When it was time, she moved with her two loves to Lunenburg, where she has been seen walking in the wind ever since.

Publisher: Little Books Collective (June 2023)

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Pearl Pirie's WriteBulb is now available at the Apple store. A prompt app for iOS 15 and up gives writing achievement badges. Pirie’s 4th poetry collection was footlights (Radiant Press, 2020).  rain’s small gestures(Apt 9 Press, 2021), minimalist poems, won the 2022 Nelson Ball Prize. Forthcoming chapbooks from Catkin Press and Turret House. Find more at www.pearlpirie.com or at patreon.com/pearlpiriepoet