Longlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award
An elegant and sinister collection of dramatic monologues.
Hooked is a stunning new collection of seven poems about seven famous or infamous women: Myra Hindley, Unity Mitford, Zelda Fitzgerald, Dora Carrington, Carson McCullers, Jane Bowles, and Elizabeth Smart. Each of these women was hooked on, and her life contorted by, an addiction or obsession. Here we have seven variations on the insoluble conundrum of sexuality – each in a remarkably distinct, authentic voice.
I am conversant with my position:
middle-aged, untrained, the graduate
of half a dozen homes for the insane
I walk correctly through a world I do not understand
where has my life gone to
beside the smell of paints and
the texture of the canvas in my rough and awkward hands?
a show of paper dolls and stories starring anguish
that’s my artistic life
from “Rickety Rackety”
(Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald: July 24, 1900-March 10, 1948)
Carolyn Smart brilliantly recreates seven lives of great colour. These women, all born before the end of World War II, struggle to find – or escape – their roles in a society hostile to female intelligence and ambition. Here are the agonies of the half-lived life; talents and voices that are lost or go astray in seven different ways, at a time before the greater freedoms that Feminism brought to the Western World. Whether these women have artistic success or not they are, in these astonishing poems, devastatingly articulate about their difficult lives.
“…Hooked expresses the heart of darkness with an astonishing concision and acuity… [Smart] understands loneliness in all its forms, and writes with a clarity and compassion that is powerfully affecting. In [her], these women have found a deeply feeling and deeply attentive witness.” – Anne Michaels
- The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2014, pt.2: Sarah Tolmie
Sarah Tolmie, Ambling Along the Aqueduct blog, December 13, 2014
Jon Kaplan, NOW Review, August 5, 2011
- Contemplating Inner Desires | Review of “Hooked” by Carolyn Smart (2009) Brick Books
Steve Buechler, The Library of Pacific Tranquility (Mach 4, 2014)
- Carolyn Smart – Hooked
Michael Dennis, Michael Dennis blog, March 18, 2013
- So You Think You Don’t Like Poetry …
Monique Mongeon, Reeder Reads blog, December 4, 2012
About the Author
Carolyn Smart has written six previous collections of poetry, including The Way to Come Home (Brick Books, 1993), and Hooked: Seven Poems (Brick Books, 2009). Her memoir At the End of the Day (Penumbra Press, 2001) won first prize in the 1993 CBC Literary Contest. Smart is the founder of the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for…