Sparsely executed, Emily Pohl-Weary's Iron-On Constellations is an eloquent cluster of observations and insights ironed onto small, square pages. Written over the course of a year of illness, Iron-On is the scrapbook you would end up with if you collected all your urban observations âe" that is, if you saw the world as Pohl-Weary does and had her ability to transcribe your view into frames that read like candid overexposed Polaroids.
These poems trace myriad thoughts: the kind you have when you're sick (like, say, about your doctor and the potential that lust will fill the space between you), the kind you have about the people you love and are in love with (Your hair is wild,/driven to the point of corn fields/whipping past the train), and the kind you have about the people around you (read: women) who are also in love or longing (Glamour rejects her discount jewellery/and love: a series of chipped teeth/swept under the rug.) Pop star Gwen Stefani may claim to be the fly on the wall with the âeoesecret eyes,âe but I think Pohl-Wearyâe(TM)s eyefuls are far more revealing, her poems quietly boasting an uncanny ability to peek into the hearts of girls everywhere.
I have to admit to affection for this book before I read it, because I love the title. There's an inherent contradiction wrapped up in an iron-on star: it's a star âe" untouchable, light burning itself toward earth âe" made into something that will ultimately fade and fall off your shirt when you wash it. Now all the world's stars/are iron-on constellations/sticky playthings peeling off small breasts.
Pohl-Weary's poetry is saturated with moments that embrace this contradiction, moments that combine the mundane and the undeniably, let's say, special. Her poems are an homage to the details that could easily be forgotten âe" the way your scars look on your stomach, the way Toronto looks at night âe" but are, all the same, unforgettable. They are the undeniable poetry of the day-to-day, the familiar coated in glitter, exposing undercurrents of desire, sadness... âe"Mariko Tamaki
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