Linda Rogers’ Crow Jazz (2018)
In children’s lunch boxes, there are “oversized whole-wheat sandwiches” (“Mud Pies”), “activism is chic” (“Lucy Laughed”), and Windsong makes someone “read The Rubaiyat and is teaching[them] how to make paint” (“The Tea Party”): this is west-coast Canada, moneyed eco-mindedness (i.e. fancified hippie-living).
If that’s not colourful enough, there are some fairy-tale and archetypal references, like Red Riding Hood walking her path in the woods (“One More Story”) and some Scottish ancestors who were Vikings, “red-haired, hot-tempered, difficult to anaesthetize” (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”).
And feminism and whimsy brush elbows: there’s a pussyhat (“Shock Therapy”), a “refusal to wear a wife collar and leash and be led” (“One More Story”), and the author’s note says she takes “dictation from her crow friends”. In “Mud Pies” the narrator observes: “Take risks….Great art, great writing and great music don’t come out the same way every time.” There’s more room for personality than polished crafting here, but there’s a playful refreshing note sustained throughout this collection.
Contents: A Blessing, The Ranger, The Tea Party, The Child City, Mud Pies, One More Story, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Her Name, Woolgatherer, Mouse Not a Sixties Scoop, Lipstick Window, Utmost Happiness, Moon Cake and Rude Hour, Shadow Dancing, Bedtime Stories, Nesting, Lucy Laughed, Three Strikes, The Lineup, Shock Therapy, Darling Boy, Deadhead What Goes Around, Blink