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Short Haul Engine

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Karen Solie takes risks with perception and language, risks that pay off in such startling ways that it's hard to believe this is a first book. Short Haul Engine is one great twist of fate and fury after another. The writing is clear, striking and open to all sorts of possibilities. Even at their most playful, these poems dive much deeper than initially expected. There's a ...more
Paperback, 84 pages
Published October 16th 2001 by Brick Books (first published October 2001)
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Apr 22, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
My favourite lines in Solie's poems often highlight her use of metaphor and simile. Indeed, Solie's metaphors are among the best I have ever read...
[...] mom's pale eyelids
are cabbage moths, fluttering [...]
- Signs Taken for Wonders, pg. 15

Panic is a wire singing in air.
- Action at a Distance, pg. 20

[...] My head
is a drawer full of spoons.
- Hangover, pg. 30

[...] our bar tabs lengthen into parables
- Last Waltz, pg. 35

[...] grinding their teeth like matches, just
waiting to catch fire.
- Flashpoint
Feb 20, 2014 Scott rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, canadian
Karen Solie's first book of poetry places her (at least somewhat) in the tradition of eco-poetic thinkers, particularly Don McKay and a bit of Tim Lilburn as well. Her style, here, feels very different from those poets, however; in this book her voice is grittier, and a bit understated. Considering she grew up in a heavily industrialized southern Saskatchewan, this might make sense. I feel her newer books have a more lyric feel, so fans of that style of poetry might start with her later books.

Nov 01, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it
Shortlisted for the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize, "Short Haul Engine" was Karen Solie's first poetry collection. The voice in many of the poems is that of someone who is tough, self reliant but also lonely and wistful. (Phrases like "heart wagging its little tail" are surprising and touching.) The fresh attention to the mundane details of life - driving and engaging in other activities in a car, watching an in-flight movie, drinking shots - is at times almost startling.

From the poem Sturgeon:

On an
David Moolten
Dec 22, 2009 David Moolten rated it really liked it
Gritty, driving work. The poems are short and accessible, close to the poet's own experience. These are small town poems, but the small towns are those with roadhouses, tough bars, cold terrain, and volatile, troubled lives.
Mar 05, 2012 Angela added it
Shelves: books-i-own
Solie is in my top five poets list of all time. She is the best new poet I`ve read in years and years, and this collection is superb. Read it! You won`t be disappointed. ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Karen-Leigh rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful collection of poetry that was heart grippingly good. It is a book I will definitely reread and I am so pleased to have heard of it and found it.
Apr 29, 2009 Taylor rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, poetry, canadiana
While you can see some of her later work in glimpses here, Solie works far better with a thematic tie, as Modern and Normal's strength shows.
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Too Many Books Not Enough Time 1 1 Dec 19, 2014 03:30PM  
Prize-winning and internationally celebrated poet Karen Solie grew up on her family's farm in rural Saskatchewan. She was educated at the University of Lethbridge and the University of Victoria. She has taught English at the University of Victoria and poetry at the Banff Centre for the Arts Writing Studio. Solie has also served as writer-in-residence at universities and arts centres across the ...more
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