Susan Holbrook

Susan Holbrook
Susan Holbrook

Susan Holbrook’s poetry books are the GG-nominated and Trillium Book Award-nominated Throaty Wipes (Coach House 2016), Joy Is So Exhausting (Coach House 2009), which was shortlisted for the Trillium Award for Poetry, and misled (Red Deer 1999), which was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award. She teaches North American literatures and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. With Thomas Dilworth she edited The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson: Composition as Conversation (Oxford U P, 2010). Her textbook How to Read (and Write About) Poetry was released in 2015 (Broadview), and in 2017 she edited Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems of Daphne Marlatt (Talonbooks).


Okay, say the tower
bathwater, the dish
is your drain pipe, your
computer a septic tank,
the trees a cracked
waste shoe. Okay, the
tower is a gas tank,
the dish is a crank-
case, the trees a leaky
fuel injector and your
computer a rough or
hesitant idler. The tower
is your brain, okay? your
dish is your mouth,
the trees the inhibitory
neurotransmitter gamma-
aminobutyric acid, your
computer slurring ‘This
time make it a double.’
The tower is power,
your computer is a hair
dryer, your dish
a plug, the trees
insulation under the screw.
Trees are a slotted spoon,
okay? The tower is a dish,
your computer a leaky
mouth, your dish
another dish. Say
the tower’s a red
fish, your dish
a spawning pool.
Your trees are too
shallow. Your computer
is a cobble riffle. A forest is a pin-
ball machine. A tree is a cotton ball, okay?
Your arms slur and plug,
there are dishes
in the tub. The sun
flash-broils the moon,
but your computer
is Earth under a messy
blue sky of trees.
A viper
appears to chew
the rat, but
in reality it
is toothing in
more venom
so it can swallow
its prey whole okay that’s
what you want

From Throaty Wipes, Copyright Susan Holbrook, 2016