fter reading the first few lines of Merrybegot it was clear that this was going to be an enjoyable read. It's filled with talk and stories, slang and Newfoundland English. My initial impression was that this style could become annoying fast, nothing more than a gimmick or affectation. This thought was eradicated, however, by poems that grabbed my complete attention with their humour and narrative. Merrybegot had me laughing, something that hasn't happened recently while reading poetry.
Whether it's a cautionary tale about the gun in "She", or the dangers of the water in "Maiden Vein", Mary Dalton has attempted to give us vibrant snapshots of Atlantic Canada in the form of short poems.
I can't recommend this book enough. Beyond piquing my interest with the fascinating linguistics of Newfoundland, Merrybegot plays language like a fantastic romp and generates poems that bounce off of the page.
Even when I reached the end of the book and read the note explaining the heavy influence of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English and found poems (including the aforementioned "She"), I wasn't annoyed or disappointed. I think Dalton used these devices to great ends, constructing a universe I'd like to visit repeatedly.
published by Véhicule Press