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