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Let the Empire Down

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In her second book, Alexandra Oliver takes us on a journey of escape from the suburbs of Canada to Glasgow, Scotland. Training her eye on the locals—on the streets, by rivers, in museums, on playgrounds, in their own homes, in the ill-starred town of Lockerbie—Oliver reflects on issues of exile, memory and identity, while traveling back into her own past.
Paperback, 72 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Biblioasis
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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This debut collection is heavily inspired by history and travel, as well as Serbian poetry (Dura Jakšić and Matija Bećković) and personal anecdote. I enjoyed the earlier poems, especially the ones with ABAB or ABBA rhyme schemes. My favorite was “Plans,” about a twenty-something manicurist who abandoned her talent for science to get ready cash: “A girl’s future should be full and bright, a marble, / but (alas for her) there is a catch: / we take on the immediate. Hope flags: / wishing to be wise ...more
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The sublimely talented Alexandra Oliver displays her deliciously cynical opinions and downright Hobbesian views in this dazzler of a second collection, Let the Empire Down. With humor and metrical pizzazz she cleverly examines social classes, office hierarchies, royals and Scottish locals. But however bleak she pretends to be, Let the Empire Down is ultimately about the courage to live once innocence is gone. In every line the poet demonstrates her savage heart and sublime will—not to mention he ...more
Robin Helweg-Larsen
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Alexandra Oliver is one of Canada's best poets. The book’s opening poem is about the rejection of an inadequate childhood:

"There's the mall where I would watch and wander;
there's the bench where I would go and cry;
there's the Polish deli that went under;
I left it all. It won't remember me."

and much of the book describes the pain, the loss of innocence and the personal search for a more deeply satisfying existence. The title itself, Let the Empire Down, is from a line in Margaret Rose, with alter
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Brilliant use of clever biting and witty tight sentences that conjure so much more than what is written
Julianna Wagar
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and a stunning tale to tell.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016s, canadiana
This collection plays with more formal rhyme schemes than I'm used to - I can't remember the last time I picked up a book of rhyming poetry. That said, I think it won me over.

"and you, with nothing left to do but drive

toward the setting sun, your rosebud home,
the neighbours you can't fathom or forgive,
then up the stairs to the crib in the back room
containing something awful and alive."
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May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stunning collection of poems.
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