Sophomore collection of exquisite precision and musicality from a classically trained pianist
In Ordinary Hours, the follow-up to Karen Enns’ Gerald Lampert Award-nominated first collection, That Other Beauty, we revisit Enns’ rural Mennonite childhood, replete with the sensuousness of “diesel fuel” and “hot peaches.” Enns also explores the Mennonite exodus from Russia, tracking its faint but unmistakable reverberations in the daily lives of its survivors and revealing the redemptive character of that dailiness. Reading an Enns poem feels effortless: her rhythms and phrasing are so minutely calibrated that the poem unfolds as if of its own accord:
It was the ashtray on the arm of the chair,
books lining the stairs, tapping rain,
the smell of soup in the kitchen
and black bread and nothing more.
What exists, existed there.
The spirit floundering and being saved
again and again in the ordinary hours.
The fountain in the garden like a simple well,
the poplars, past the hedge,
the sommerhaus with its green roof.
~from “William Street Elegies”
Praise for Karen Enns: “Using unfussy language, Enns has a sumptuous knack for the visual and a stateliness of observation that allows for a slow, deep rhythm to be established across the poems…” ~Jury Citation, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
- The Recommend: April 2017
Joanna Lilley, the 49th Shelf
- Break Events and Gelassenheit
Martin Kuester, Canadian Literature, Issue 226 (Autumn 2015)
- Ordinary Hours by Karen Enns | Astatine by Michael Kenyon | Blue Sonoma by Jane Munro
David Jarraway, University of Ottawa, Journal of Canadian Poetry - The Poetry Review, Volume 31, for the year 2014
- Ordinary Hours by Karen Enns – finalist for 2015 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize
Susan Stenson, Greater Victoria Public Library, October 5, 2015
- Snapshots – Ordinary Hours by Karen Enns
CV2, September 22, 2015
About the Author
Karen Enns grew up in a Mennonite farming community in southern Ontario. She currently lives and writes in Victoria, B.C., where she works as a private piano instructor. Her first book of poetry, That Other Beauty, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award.