A CBC Best Poetry Book of 2022
Hail, The Invisible Watchman is haunted poetry—Oliver’s formal schemes are as tidy as a picket-fence and as suggestive; behind the charm of rhyme is a vibrant, dark exploration of domestic and social alienation.
The poems in Hail, the Invisible Watchman
are as tidy as a picket-fence—and as suggestive. Behind the charms of iambs lurks a dark exploration of domestic and social alienation. Metered rhyme sets the tone like a chilling piano score as insidiousness creeps into the neighbourhood. A spectral narrator surveils social gatherings in the town of Sherbet Lake; community members chime in, each revealing their various troubles and hypocrisies; an eerie reimagining of an Ethel Wilson novel follows a young woman into a taboo friendship with an enigmatic divorcée. In taut poetic structures across three succinct sections, Alexandra Oliver’s conflation of the mundane and the phantasmagoric produces a scintillating portrait of the suburban uncanny.