The Strength of Materials

 Wolsak & Wynn, 2001 ISBN: 0919897762

“Holding her elegiac lens up to life, Tregebov shows how, in our fragile world, even traditionally joyful subjects are compromised, tinged with loss…. With Strength of Materials, Tregebov joins the ranks of distinguished Canadian elegists such as George Bowering, Dennis Lee and Jan Zwicky.” Canadian Literature

“Tregebov is a wonderful writer who uses the lyric poem of comment and description to a nobler end than most of its other adherents do.” George Fetherling, The Vancouver Sun

The Strength of Materials suggests a world in which every elegy is an ode and every ode an elegy. These poems both praise and commemorate the material world in all its beauty and fleetingness; they speak of rejoicing through grief and grieving through joy, of loss and recovery, of bereavement and resilience. The Strength of Materials delineates the gifts this perishable world offers its unsuspecting human inhabitants.

Sample poem:

A Really Good Run (Elegy)

I finish my run and think
I’m so strong now, nothing could kill me:
not the dwarf star imploding in Alpha Centauri, not
the Toronto Humane Society van swerving to avoid a raccoon.
Not living beside Lake Ontario, not Devon cream or rare
roast beef, chlorinated, fluoridated water. Not booze,
drugs, sex, black ice on the sidewalk. Not seeing my aunt
go down my front steps, whispering, It hurts so much.
Or my strong father stalled by his hip after half
a block, leaning against a telephone pole.

© Rhea Tregebov

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