Precordial Thump

Zoe Whittall (Exile Editions)

Toronto writer Zoe Whittall's new poetry collection Precordial Thump packs a punch. It can be read back to front cover, beginning to end. Either vantage point showcases a divide: the honest and the dishonest. Both the liar and lied to emerge---action and reaction---all words have consequence. A fixation with medical language and the crucial aspects of what it means to be human, to love and to be loved are woven into the poetics of this collection.

Pop culture played a critical role in Whitall's previous poetry books The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life and The Emily Valentine Poems, yet this body of work portrays a more introspective, brash, urban voice. "Improper Use of an Ambulance Stretcher" and "Dear Liary" feature pivotal aspects in time, flashes of the commonplace, the sublime. The very moments that define us. Whittall is a documenter, a mapmaker. Her marriage of medicine and poetry, "Begin With the End in Mind" and "In Spite of all the Damage" breaks the mould of staggering heartbreak aftermath, though it's the universal-shaped bruises of "Abrasion" and "Premature" that will remind readers all moments are precious, no matter how earth-shattering or paradoxical. All life is luck, love, lies and memory.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

Our Thursday email gets you caught up with The Coast. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.