Book Review for Letters in a Bruised Cosmos:

Subterranean Blue Poetry

Volume X Issue I


“suffer the bones
the night
and starlight . . .”

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Letters in a Bruised Cosmos

Author: Liz Howard

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Date of Publication: 2021

Pages: 66

“ . . . “refiler la comète”, “to retrace the path of the comet” –
that is, to keep walking all night.”
- from The Other Paris by Luc Sante

An exciting New Age polyphonic poetic kraftwerk that expertly presents the politic of the Indigenous woman poet within the post-modern diaspora, a celebration in poetics, Letters in a Bruised Cosmos by Liz Howard. Liz Howard is widely published and won the Griffin Poetry Prize (2016) for her debut collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent. She has studied science and creative writing, earning degrees at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph. Her heritage is of mixed race Anishinaabe.

Through the dark presentation of place, this poet speaks in lightning. Heavy as if with depression, someone on a difficult journey, a dislocated family, lost lovers, travels through life in the streets. New technology images mix with Anishinaabe heritage images, nature, an idea of broken and whole that lingers on the tongue like a precious offering. An idea of the Indigenous women’s role and gender politics, perhaps the suffering of a broken bed. Themes include the death of her father, participating in a brain experiment, saying confession at a church, being in bed with a lover, a day in the life, nature haunts in an innovation of technical execution and alacrity. A truthtelling that occasionally breaks into the surrealist, sharp with observation.

“A rape in every
generation of my line within the time of photography. A heritable
loom of methylated DNA. How to speak this quiet violence that has
separated me from history? Have I made myself accessible

Within the work of poetry is the reference to “True North”, almost deified, an encarnated exit, perhaps a reference to northern Ontario where she was raised and also like cultural folklore, the mythic “go north” everything will be better there happenstance that on a bad day titillates on the edges of reality.

A progression from the post-modern Beat influenced poetry of Leonard Cohen, this poetry shines. Also notable in Letters in a Bruised Cosmos are the innovations in poetic form. The first poem has the words,

              IN THE

inserted into the centre of the lines of the block poem, so that the capitalized words can be read different ways, just the capitalized words, or the capitalized word within that line of the poem, and then spinning into reading the capitalized words in part, in unison. A creative dance with darkness, with loss. One of the poems, “Superposition” dances in a wave. There are poems in columns, that can be read down and across, in “Life Cycle of the Animal Called She” there are concept words pulled to the lefthand side of the body of the work,


It is a genius of new poetic form.

The entire write ends with an exquisite love poem, drawn through darkness, a lament in beautiful execution. Truly an original offering in brilliant, shining light through darkness, a new day, Letters in a Bruised Cosmos by Liz Howard.

Available @

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2021