by Jonathan Ball
January 26, 2013
Born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg, Vancouver-based Rhea Tregebov begins her seventh collection, All Souls’ (Signal, 78 pages, $18) with a poem in which “You thought all the poems had grown up / and left home. You didn’t expect to find one / putting its little hands on your face.” A fine, fitting metaphor for the moment of poetic inspiration, which is notoriously difficult to place into words.
Tregebov makes nice use of simple poetic tricks, like breaking the sentence “We’re eating at the fanciest restaurant anyone can imagine” before the concluding and deflating “in Winnipeg.”
In “Safe as Houses: Subprime” the title comparison has been undercut by the poem’s ending: “What’s safe now. / People are losing their homes.”
Tregebov takes few formal risks, but manages her language well enough to invigorate even a landscape poem, with dull gulls that “condescend from the sky.”
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition J9