the pet radish, shrunken


"Inven­tive, adven­tur­ous, humor­ous, and a lyric aper­ture onto the strange beauty of the quo­tid­ian,  pet radish, shrunken  is a delight to read. Uni­fied in their unpre­dictabil­ity, these poems explore a range of forms and voices.   Pirie rubs words until they spark and fume, turn­ing the com­mon into an uncom­mon blaze. Every line is joy­ful in its eccen­tric­i­ties, and emi­nently re-read­able as it tum­bles through lan­guage."


 "Wonderful words emerge from this type of noun play: “hyacinth” (also “hyenas”) revises the negative resonance of the word “homosexuals” within the original fruit machine text. Pirie shows through Oulipo that homosexuals, like hyacinths, are beautiful.[...]  If anyone is “vehement” about anything, it is readers who have snapped their pens (or laptops) in half, made furious by the thought that they did not [, could never] write the pet radish, shrunken. ” 



"There is an immediacy to the words and the sounds on the page that is both beautiful and poignant. In capturing the in- stances and preserving them for the reader, Pirie seems to make the simple into the ineffable with a few deft strokes.[...]These poems and many others leap  out of the page and into the best of Cana-  dian poetry, for being purely of a moment and rich with feeling behind the words.[...]  Pearl Pirie is a poet truly in love with language and not afraid to show it. ” 


"poems full of (often cutting & sardonic) wit, punning, & delight in the odd & transgressive: ‘catch my flown meaning, the broken sticks / that used to be letters you could make sense of [...] Not everything works (for me), but there’s more than enough I can praise here[...] for all this play, she can also turn to a metaphysical poetics of existential awareness, as in ‘scratch the surface.’ One of my favorite poems in the book, it’s beautifully modulated in its almost cosmic understatement, as it moves from ‘a white line along the forearm’ to ‘we, that storm of particles refilling earth. // we, hills, moving, with spines running thru / don’t return to dust. have never left.’  The Pet Radish, Shrunken offers many moments that hold a reader tight, slightly off balance, & glad to be so.” 


"the pet radish, shrunken explores and dissects sound, form, and linguistic play, frustrating what Pirie calls embedded sense – the deeper meanings we ascribe to words, and by extension, the world [...] Many of these poems aren’t pretty in a lyrical sense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because they please the mind in another way. "


"To read the collection solely for its quirky fun would be to sell Pirie short, for her wit is not frivolous but judiciously cut through with sharp takes on contemporary life.[...] The pet radish, shrunken features a poetic bonus in the shape of cover and title page illustrations by Phil Hall, drawings as simultaneously allusive and elusive as Pirie’s work and a very good match for the text. Bringing these two artists together was a good thing indeed; BookThug’s book savvy be praised."


"to utilize poetry as a way to understand how the world works and somehow navigate[...] a collection by a poet with far more confidence and heft, using language as a series of tools in which to facilitate discovery.  "


"Pirie's poetry reminds me of early Atwood. Witty and biting at the same time. I haven't read poetry that I have enjoyed like that for a long time."

"Pirie's poems are protean that way, shifting and blurring. These are poems for an age of media that compete with poems, where "the serenading tv & computer screens sing / bombs, toss some open threats & insomnia aids." They flit to express flickering identities, flail to capture relationships.[...] Pirie's produced a poetry of pixels, of images that flash once then are gone."


"virtuosity w/language is something to be/held. Read the pet radish, shrunken now!"


Buy at BookThug, $18 If you want a signed copy, contact me for a copy.


Won the 2015 Lampman Poetry Award.


Post-modern. Post-lyric. Sure explorations of journeys outward and onwards, inward lingward and lungward. 


"The lyrics populating Ottawa poet Pearl Pirie's new collection, the pet radish, shrunken, buzz with oblique wisdom and surgically sharp wit.[...] the sonnets, tercets and dialogue poems of this new collection strike powerful and deliberate chords even while they frolic and surprise. ” 



She'll slip a hard edge into the most carefree poems to knock you out while other lines evoke giggles[...] a radiant union of contemporary situations and classic themes."




"She’s the opposite of boring!” 



"Towards the end of the book, Pirie offers some of her poetics in “unpacking some boxes” with the line that has followed me like the friendliest raccoon in the neighbourhood, knocking over my garbage bins and looking at me full of righteous hunger: “this is the poem: the m & the me versus the ory & the sis.” The homophonic pun on verses, often attempted but rarely so well-served, gleams here. For this line alone, you should buy this book. For this line will ratchet up your spine in the best way possible.  ” 




"'community is not a commodity'. Pearl Pirie has invented a new genre of poetry when it looked like no such thing was possible. Some of the poems in this book read like pastiched out-takes from all the poems that have been edited and cut to make clean, polished gems. Pearl makes of the shaved off bits a better picture of the real state of the state of the state of mind (sic) that usually gets censored or flies over the radar .” 




A Poetry Month recommendation at 49th Shelf with books by Karen Solie, Jeff Latosik, Erin Moure and Amber Dawn. [Mar 28, 2015]  One of the Most Anticipated CanLit: Spring 2015 by Kerry Clare, [Jan 26, 2015].
"Quirky and fresh, playful yet serious, Pirie’s collection, the pet radish, shrunken, demands and activates new pathways of reason. These line-by-line lyrical segments both tantalize and take the reader down the rabbit hole (pulling rabbits out of hats along the way) with their semantic surprises and jumpy music. Pirie sees the world askew and brings the reader along for the ride. An invigorating collection."
Her verbal verve is rooted in an ecstatic attentiveness to language, both found and formal. Moving from sonnets to dialogue poems to tercets, these poems shelter surreal and uncanny imagery. Charged with innovative and lyrical energies, the pet radish, shrunken is a gorgeous rebellion."


I read the book through three times[...] I very much enjoyed it. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions which is no small feat for a book of poetry! It was delightful. The poems collected in the pet radish, shrunken invite us equally into routine and catastrophic events. The delights of each new moment is tied with those memories that so casually insist on a place in a present. With humour, play, and brass, Pirie revels in the daily raucous of domesticity, verbatim conversations, and the language that must somehow hold a whole existence



The side project from the book is a generator of matryoshka words at twitter.