The Animal Library by Jason Camlot
Finalist for The A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry in 2001
The Animal Library marks the debut of a remarkable poet — a poet of the flesh, his own and that of the animals he has lived with all his life, whether real or imaginary. Jason Camlot’s father was a furrier and he grew up in a world where, inevitably, “baby fur gets in your eyes” or in “your mouth.” In dreams, the poet becomes a whale corpse “washed up/ on a very pale beach/ and hundreds of flies came,/ and people,/ to see the tusk,/ spun like coral glass.” And as the boy grows up, images, at once curiously literal and yet surreal — images of being devoured or skinned alive — stay with him. The beauty of this collection is one of the mot juste, a concreteness and precision, coupled with a superb sense of rhythm. — Marjorie Perloff
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