Joy Is So Exhausting delights The Georgia Straight
'if the old adage is right that honey attracts more than vinegar does, then Susan Holbrook’s Joy Is So Exhausting gives potential cynics so much humour that they can laugh themselves back to that moment in high school when they started to hate poetry in the first place.
Holbrook is watching us carefully, quipping about our psychological state through procedural wordplay—and, man, does she know us well. In 'Good Egg Bad Seed' she shows how we tend to think in categories: 'You like an epiphany or you like a surprise', or 'You talk loudly in airport lineups or you are Canadian', or 'You say ‘I love you’ or you say ‘I love you too’ ', or 'You say ‘Fuck you’ or you say ‘Oh yeah? Fuck you’ '. Fuck yeah, she has us down. As well, there is not a funnier found poem than 'Insert', which uses tampon directions as source material. The thing is, Holbrook’s humour exposes the complexity of how the mind works in the midst of domestic pleasure and/or exhaustion, and in the face of political strife answers the question all the writers here consider: what do we need in the midst of so much language?