Border TownsPaperback - 2016
The several essays that comprise Border Towns chase, worry, and trouble ideas about situation and reference. As a group, the essays' topics--color, lycanthropy, African-Canadian history, cooking, public transit, etc.,--make an unlikely field. But through all its pages the book traces and describes acts of situation; and--for all its werewolves, green-grocers, and paeans to miscegenation and migration--its interest is not in capturing but in "the shape of reference itself."
The title figure of the border town serves as a "beard" for the unassimilable. The author, whose other Dalkey books are poetry books, writes, "The mistake or the short-sightedness is to perceive border towns as finite or one-to-one compositions, or as places where monoliths stretch and mingle; or stare at one another.....Perhaps at best is border town--the term--the gesture toward something that's actually untenable or untenably awkward." So Border Towns --the book of essays--is perhaps, finally, a book about poetry. ("It often seems to me," writes the author, "that one of the best uses to which prose can be put is describing poetry.")