Other People’s Poetry: Tara Caribou’s “four”


I recently purchased a copy of Tara Caribou’s latest poetry collection, four. This collection is built around the concept of the number four as represented by the four seasons (the four main chapters), and four phases of the moon, four times of day, the four elements, and four different kinds of love.

I hope I didn’t completely botch that explanation….

It was a pleasure to read. Each chapter begins with a photo or two, also created by Tara. In all honesty, I couldn’t choose just one or two… they are all stunning. If you are into nature photography as I am (though I am an amateur, and know shit all about photography), her photos will not disappoint. The final photo right at the very end of the book sums up the feral and mysterious nature of love and self. I couldn’t think of a better visual analogy than the ravenous truly unknowable sea.

Onto the words now….

I have many favourites poems, especially the number/geometry-related ones. I won’t be sharing her poems here — as you really need to buy this book, but I will tell you which poems I loved the most:

Order of Operations features a very interesting spin on repetition, and being someone who finds math intriguing despite potentially having dyscalcula, I found this poem quite pleasing.

System Failure is a clever play on error codes. I enjoyed the high emotion of the first part of the poem. Subsequently, how it decomposes into error messages and binary code is just brilliant.

I Am Fractal… because fractals. If you know anything about me, you will know that I have an obsessive fascination with fractals so this one jumped out at me. The following stanza just made me smile so hard:

My mind is painted as such:

I’m all Euclidean lines and perfect graphs

There’s Order of Operations and square roots

I’m totally into dodecahedrons and trigonometry

Me too, Tara. Me too. I have always fancied myself an irregular nonagon….

Little Robin just made me feel all warm and fuzzy because I have a thing for birds, and robins always make me smile. Wild things that we know we can never keep are always such captivating muses. Nature gives constantly in the realm of senses and inspiration.

Minerals and Vibrations contains such a sense of rootedness to earth and to depth, I felt like I was reduced to an earthworm as I read it, and I swear I could taste the soil in every word.

There are so many dog-earred pages in my copy, so many more poems of loving, longing, losing and regaining in this book. Do get yourself and someone you love a copy of this poetry collection. It will move your heart and soul, and give you a new appreciation for numbers and geometry.

Well done, Tara!




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