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A Precarious Life on the Sea: O’ Rave On: New Age poetry from above/ground press.

Byline: Reprint from Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: A Precarious Life on the Sea

Author: Sarah Burgoyne

Publisher: above/ground press

Date of Publication: 2016

Pages: 20

“Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw.
Had two big horns and a wooly jaw.
Wooly bully, wooly bully.”
- from Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs

A Precarious Life on the Sea is a fantastical Chapbook of New Age poetry from Sarah Burgoyne and above/ground press. Poet Burgoyne is from the West Coast and lives in Montreal. She is working on an a Master’s Degree in English, has been published online, in N.A. poetry journals and has written Chapbooks. She is about to publish her first book of poetry, Saint Twin, with Mansfield Press. She can be found reading Spoken Word at the Resonance Cafe.

The quote that introduces the Chapbook draws you in, “the ocean you grew up watching has decided, finally, to take you in. “where else was I going to go?” you ask, setting off. it spews squid and minnows into your little boat for you to eat if you are hungry. you throw them back because you know the ocean is hungrier. at night, the moon casts a sidelong glance into your boat. you are less round. the ocean is delighted with your company. it carries you from place to place, each day a little easier, imagining your bright bones, sideways moons, it’ll use them as walking sticks. - Anonymous”

surreal and outside, it sets the stage for what is about to be revealed. This poetry is outrageous, sometimes humorous, contrasts with the serious and profound. The Poet plays with language and images of the everyday world and creates a world of the extraordinary. Often dark, the poetry speaks of funerals, weddings, a bad Christmas, lovelorn, sorrow and anger and spins it all into outrageous fortune. This Writer experiences the Poet as someone with raised eyebrows, questioning life, as if the Poet’s response to an illogical situation. As noted anti-psychiatrist R.D. Laing once said, “Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world”. The poetry spins as if the Poet is in shock, as if a Dadaesque response to great sorrow and the violence of life N.A. The DaDa movement of post World War I created totally nonsensical artistic presentations in response to the great violence/sorrow/anger at the destruction and loss of life. Perhaps, some hidden power construct is creating a theater of the absurd, an Existential angst. The nonsensical presentation takes on it’s own magic, as the deconstructed phenomena becomes an imprint, becomes inspired with a new breath, a stone cast against oppression. O’ rave on. It’s a raver, as if late in the night the coyote howls up at the full moon.


“Looking up, I discovered that I’d always been a young bore. The
night sky made it always impossible to tell the difference
between a river and a plain path. I move along it anyways,
having dressed in fine denim, having been blest by the priest’s
son, then leered at by the bottom of the glass. I’m not used to
having no one come when I call and I blame it on the
outrageous effects of polka dots. The cupboard closes once
more over my eyes, leaving a dusting of every day of my life on
the carpet. Time to replace the rug. Beckon the new, but please
don’t . . . “


“Torn up in the surgery of night. The buttering under of it. Seven
halos away from becoming a sprig of something anointed.
Never too few in the brooding doorframes; the spoken-to
lighting the walls. The corner-drawing minds buttoning silver
horns of ancient wisdom. A voice: Dance with me, future loser,
I love you. Hide under the table, I will call down the Lord
without sulphur. To cast alms over our future mistakes.

It has driven you mad. The left towns. The river. The twisted
ankles of the chosen ones, stunting across your vision. Desirous
to be atop any building, moving moon-dumb into someone
else’s night. You are alone. But it has equated to the community
feeling. Take a harmonica when you go, handsome love. Bid
adieu to the feeling of it. The gold ring of living in it . . . “

The broken stream of consciousness is presented in narrative, sometimes first person, poetic prose. Paragraphs and lines with capitalized beginnings that end in periods. In free verse, with rare unobvious rhyme, the poetry has cadence. The poetry itself is innovative, an imprint of original, a new and exciting celebration of art in the New Age. A Precarious Life on the Sea by Sarah Burgoyne from above/ground press.

Available @ above/ground press.

Genre: Poetry, New Age, Women's Literature


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