With each section, Schoemperlen lets you know the liberties she has taken with the source text she’s surgically altered. Sometimes her intervention is minimal, and in other cases it is fascinatingly and exhaustingly complex. “From this massive volume of 1454 pages, I have selected the events that interested me and rearranged them in new sections with my own titles,” she informs us of her reorganization of a book of historical dates from 1900.
In a section titled A Body Like a Little Nut, she draws on a 1897 high school botany text book, arranging its staccato sentences into alphabetical sections to produce something all together erotic: “Ovaries in a ring. Ovaries united in one berry. Ovary bursting soon after the flowering.” Or: “Plant but little aromatic. Plant erect, hairy (but green.) Plant more or less hairy, erect. Plant poisonous to the touch.” She goes to work on the obvious absurdity of 1920s health and hygiene guides, and creates what is essentially a long poem from a 1946 Ontario public-school geography text. In doing so, she reveals herself to be a curator of both juxtaposition and connection, luxuriating in the way language works and what feelings it can conjure when laid on the page.
Read the full review at The Globe and Mail.