I don't read a lot of poetry books but I do adore solid poetry. I guess because I am a prose writer, I typically tend to go for prose books! However, a recent hot-off-the-press poetry book landed on my lap (it literally landed on my lap when I had the author Leah Horlick on my Sask-book-themed TV show). Like the poet herself, this little book (a whole 62 pages) is eloquent and smooth as tales are told of coming of age and coming out. Both Leah's Jewish roots and lesbian pride shine powerfully through in her work, telling tales of girl-crushes and teen heartbreaks in visual, comical ways. The fact that this young lady grew up in Saskatoon is evident as she takes us to iconic spots in Toontown and other areas of the province. I enjoyed her telling of her first out-in-the-open kiss on Broadway Avenue and her hangover brunches at the Mandarin Restaurant on 20th Street. It made me feel young again.
The fact that this book is part of Saskatoon's Thistledown Press' New Leaf Series just sweetens the pot - the New Leaf Series is a four book set that emerges from Thistledown once every four years - it honours the house's commitment to showcasing four young enterprising emerging poets. And while Horlick currently resides in BC, it feels right to embrace a book penned by a former Saskatonian - especially such a lovely one. Riot Lung is one hell of a good reason for readers to start re-embracing poetry, much like I just did.