Joy Is So Exhausting exhilarates Uptown

By Quentin Mills-Fenn
January 14 2010

Susan Holbrook claims that Joy is So Exhausting, at least according to the title of her new collection of poems (Coach House Books). I don't know about that. When I finished the book, I was exhilarated.

These are poems about things such as motherhood, breakups and chocolate. The results are clever and dizzying. One poem blenderizes a guide to writing essays by Constance Rooke with notes written by her home-inspection consultant, leavened with excerpts from Leaves of Grass.

My favourite piece, 'Insert,' malaprops the directions from a Tampax box, asking the question, 'Your First Timpani?'

'After washing your hams, take your produce out of the rapture.'

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