– by Hufsa Tahir
When I first picked up award-winning poet Karen Connelly’s Come Cold River, one thing was apparent—this poetry collection is unequivocally honest about its grim subject matter. It sheds light on the topics nobody wants to talk about: familial abuse, the racism still prevalent in Canada, and violence against women and children.
Harsh words and truth propel the poems as they relate tales of voices silenced and dismissed, of inconceivable acts of cruelty and crime.There is an undercurrent of despair prevalent through the stories Connelly tells, some of which are drawn from her own life.
She has a way of painting vivid scenes with the simplest words, In one of her poems, she mentions a “noose of cigarette smoke swinging in the air”, and this evocative, poignant image is but one of many in the book.
This book is a must-read for those in search of a refreshingly biting look at the more repulsive side of human nature and, by extension, Canada.
Here’s a review of Come Cold River in Canadian Poetries and a Q&A with Karen Connelly in the Toronto Quarterly.