Poetry Review –Slow States of Collapse: Poems

Slow States of Collapse: Poems

Slow States of Collapse: Poems by Ashley-Elizabeth Best is her first published collection of poetry. Best is from Cobourg, Ontario. Her work has appeared in Fjords, CV2, Berfrois, Grist, and Ambit Magazine, among other publications. Recently, she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

This is quite an interesting collection of poetry it starts off well enough and almost without realizing it, the reader is introduced to what sounds domestic violence “that really wasn’t meant” and life-threatening disease. It is, as the title hints, a slow state of collapse. Best can still write beautiful lines in the face the collapse:

We’re strangers descendants
returned, sounding the healing
depth of silence


The sky churns terminal clouds,
falls slack and dull into an umber

From the bus ride east and running and feeling the Braille of her sister’s spine to visiting her brother in jail, the brother she turned in the poems weave a story. There is a descent into darkness so slow and steady that it goes by unnoticed. The reader will suddenly look up from his or her reading and ask “How did I get here?” There are problems with men from “loving daddy was like inviting wasps to nest under your skin”, to a jailed brother, a boyfriend with Betty tattooed on his neck, to being ” the best little bit on the side” with a shipwreck between her thighs.

Self-image contrasts nature in the collection. Even in its dreariest moments nature holds some beauty while the person uses, tries to hide, her image in graceful words– “an elephantine infusion, the porous borders of my curves widening threat.” The high points seem high only in comparison to the usual events making up life.

This is an enjoyable collection of poetry in that it delivers emotion and reality in a way that will have an effect on the reader. Moving and emotional. A few of Best’s poems can be found here along with audio of her reading:http://www.therustytoque.com/poetry-a…

This is a very worthy collection to both read and own. It is available on April 1, 2016, published by ECW Press and will be available from the usual reading sources.


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