Exhibit

by Paul Zits

University of Calgary Press

2019

Poetry: Gender Studies, Law, Literary

CDN: $18.99

978-1-77385-068-9

Margaret is unlike other women: her hands bark, she speaks Hawaiian Punch, and she can often be seen prodding at stars with sticks. And sometimes she is the happiest woman in the world: a pillow with a pillowcase. Her brother, Alex, feels pleasant enough, except that his parts are made of wood, and that a bunch of his hair is electrified. And then there are the gun-shot wounds to his head and chest. With this final ailment, Margaret may have had a hand.

In the winter of 1926, Margaret McPhail went on trial for the murder of Alex, and throughout, maintained her innocence. Exhibit, more than a poetic retelling of her trial, chronicles the path to a verdict, misstep by misstep. Brother and sister become knotted aberrations, grotesqueries that are at times monstrous and at others stunning, at times sickly and at others impressive in their strength.

Folded into these poems, helping to give them their current, at times strange and potent vision, are cuts from a broad variety of sources, including primary source materials, interviews, fairy tales, the history of feminist film, and more. Unique and rewarding, Exhibit is a masterful work of collage poetry that rests in the spaces where reality is constructed and blurred.

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