(Coach House Books)
In 1999, Toronto writer and artist RM Vaughan had a crush on his therapist, often referred to as transference. But when his therapist showed up at the opening night of one of Vaughan's plays, a real sexual relationship began. Troubled is a memoir of an inappropriate union, and its emotional, psychological and legal consequences. But Troubled isn't Dr. Phil material---this is a beautifully angry confession told through poetry and fragmented prose, interspersed with blacked-out photocopied documents and correspondences between lawyers and medical professionals. As with Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton and, more recently, Lynn Crosbie's Liar, a long-form confessional poem about her boyfriend's infidelities and their breakup, it's difficult to judge the authors' real motives---revenge, healing or forgiveness---because their vulnerabilities are dressed in such carefully constructed words. Each section is named after a significant moment in the relationship, like "Session" and "New York Weekend." Or "Dufferin Park": "On this beaten picnic platform, this nail-and-plank lovers' couch, a teenage perch/common as a chair, a knife, you make luxurious demands, ask me not to speak of us, of our time. I promise to only circumvent, or write poetry; the second-best silence."
Sue Carter Flinn