Ink Monkey

by Diana Hartog


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“… like Emily Dickinson, Hartog melds the ordinary with the visionary….” — Joseph Stroud, author of Below Cold Mountain and Country of Light

Ink Monkey is Diana Hartog’s first book of poetry in more than thirteen years and her patience is the reader’s reward. In these spare and elegant poems – not a word out of place, not an unnecessary syllable – Hartog turns a perceptive eye toward the stories of seemingly ordinary things, of overlooked moments and long-closed rooms. Whether she is writing about jellyfish, the desert, awkward silences that end a relationship, struggles of creativity, or Japanese prints, her poems are astute and beautiful.

Something “up his sleeve,” as when a man in the West simply
leans against a wall with his hands in his pockets

and a woman walks by, her starched French cuff dangling an
abalone button blinded with thread. The Muse leaning also,

towards the East and the past: the poetic looseness of kimono sleeves,
damp with tears, in the Japanese canon of love. Sweet partings, trysts,

exposing always the wrist, its pale throat, the heartbeat’s
muted throb at the fork of the two blue rivers …

from “Sleeves”

“Give Diana Hartog a subject – monkeys, frogs, jellyfish, or a Japanese printmaker on the Tokaido road – and she will play riffs that dazzle…. With an adhesive poet’s tongue, Hartog picks through her seemingly endless erudition for the humorous bits – Leda in a hotel room leaving her feathers in the ashtray – and yet she can crack the heart, as in the image ‘the grass… whipped every-which-way as if wild with grief. …'” Rosemary Sullivan


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About the Author

Diana Hartog has published three previous collections of poetry - Polite to Bees (1992), nominated for the BC Book Prize, Candy from Strangers (1986), winner of the BC Book Prize and Matinee Light (1983), winner of the Gerald Lampert Award. She has also written a memoir, No Hippies Allowed (1994) and a novel The Photographer's…

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