At first glance, a book of poetry centered around cannibalism might seem like something reserved for horror fans and obsessive meat lovers, but after diving into the new collection of poems by Windsor wordsmith Laurie Smith, there’s more than just slicing and dicing going on.
Said The Cannibal is a collection that tells of starving settlers, mass murders, butcher shops and even the Transubstantiation. If it involves flesh and meat in some way, it’s probably referenced here somewhere.
The book is a collection of nearly 70 poems ranging from dark and dreary to outright funny. Tackling topics like food obsessions, dark pleasures and even Jeffrey Dahmer (as told in a 13-part epic poem), the tone of the collection is vivid and flows like a river with several branches (some of them funny, some absurd and the majority mostly thought provoking).
Smith is well versed in the art of writing poems, as evident in pieces like “Bodyworks”, “Famine” and the delightful “Jane who was eaten”. With a theme as incomprehensible and asinine as cannibalism, most of us are only exposed to it through movies, books and news stories. You’ve probably never met a cannibal or have any friends who practice the art, so like most of us, you’re stuck with images of horror flicks like The Silence of the Lambs, books by authors like Nathaniel Philbrick or even comics and TV shows like The Walking Dead.
She gives us a tour through the minds and actions of several cannibal tales throughout history and a few fictional creations along the way, making a unique book that’s not as intense as Silence of The Lambs and most certainly not as direct and in-you-face as The Walking Dead. You can also tell Smith has a marvelous sense of humour with poems like “Carpe Eat ‘Um”, a few pieces about pigs and the direct comment of “Just Desserts (On the Anticipation of Feedback)” where she protects her work against the haters and critics in an almost voodoo-like way.
The words burst on the pages while twisting and turning to make their point, but that’s the fun of Said The Cannibal. It’s playful, kinda’ creepy at heart, but certainly a modern way to tackle the art of poetry. It’s not the kind of book that makes you question life, death or even cannibalism, it’s more a statement of society and its infatuation with flesh eaters and horror films.
Smith is an award-winning poet and author of short fiction, probably best known for her 2011 page-turner about Riverside called “The Truth About Roller Skating”. Laurie was the first ever recipient of the Adele Wiseman Poetry Prize, a two-time winner of the Mayor’s Awards of Excellence in the Arts, and has won numerous additional awards for poetry and short fiction. Some of her other works include “smack in the middle of spotlit obvious”, “One Ninth of a Cat’s Life”, and “Menagerie”. “By the River,” an anthology of local poetry and prose edited by Smith, was recently released in December from Urban Farmhouse Press.
More information about Said The Cannibal can be found on the Urban Farmhouse Press website.