Troy Jollimore (author); AT LAKE SCUGOG; Princeton University Press (Poetry: Poetry) $16.95 ISBN: 978691149431
Byline: Jennifer Sperry Steinorth
How is the heart won? Laughter certainly loosens the bars; cleverness occupies the mind, leaves the creature unprotected. After that the heart is easily cleaved in two. Troy Jollimore sneaks up on you. You'll think the clap upside the head is all in good fun, but just as you're laughing it off he's got your heart in his hands and you're wondering how it happened -- you had no intention of falling in love. You're in a pickle -- and you're in good company. In 2006, Jollimore's first book, Tom Thomas in Purgatory, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. His enthusiastically anticipated second book does not disappoint.
In At Lake Scugog, Jollimore moves in, around, and between interiors, consciousness and the subconscious, the thing-as-it-is and the thing we perceive, as in his title poem: "while in the cabin's shade, the gap between / the words I said /and those I remember saying / is just wide enough to contain / the remains that remain / of what I assumed I knew."
Perhaps this is not altogether surprising coming from a philosopher: Jollimore holds a doctorate in philosophy from Princeton and teaches at California State University Chico, where he is director of the Humanities Center. But these poems succeed by craft and heart, not philosophical argument...