An incredibly complex and stunning poetic debut, Síle Englert’s collection The Lost Time Accidents (Icehouse Poetry 2021) is a must-read.
This collection of poems, divided into three distinct parts, unpacks a number of central themes such as gender, sexuality, objectification, fantasy, reality, motherhood, childhood, and many more. Icehouse writes that this collection moves “through time and memory — from childhood to motherhood, from historical figures and events to the precarious environment of the Anthropocene” and “Englert’s voice brims with grief while still holding space for whimsy.” Indeed, the focus on stages of life and stark dichotomies such as whimsy and grief is a hallmark of Englert’s collection.
A wonderful aspect of Englert’s writing is the way in which she interprets the significance of everyday objects. Using children’s toys, household items, and everyday experiences, Englert reframes them in order to craft a metaphorical narrative that addresses the larger and more complex issues dealt with in the collection. While Englert’s poetry is not easy reading—indeed, it is complex and intensely sophisticated in its language—The Lost Time Accidents demonstrates an obvious mastery of language, imagery, and literary devices. Gorgeously executed and obviously queer, each poem in the collection is a triumph.
In this collection, Englert’s writing includes something for everyone. I was particularly taken with the second section’s outward focus on famous figures and events that Englert adapts to suit her own thematic needs. However, I had undeniable favourite from across the collection, including “The Reason for Tiger Lilies”; “Functional Interpretation of the Knee”; “Summers at the Lake”; “Rabbit”; “Body of Nude Woman Found at Life Drawing Exhibit”; “Insomnia”; “Blackout Lullaby”; “Beetroot”; “Unearthing”; “Bullhorn”; “Denouement”; and “Petrified.”
I highly recommend The Lost Time Accidents for anyone interested in queer poetry and Canadian writers.
Please visit Síle Englert on Twitter.
Rachel Friars is a writer and academic living in Canada, dividing her time between Ontario and New Brunswick. When she’s not writing short fiction, she’s reading every lesbian novel she can find. Rachel holds two degrees in English literature and is currently pursuing a PhD in nineteenth-century lesbian literature and history.