Virtuosic poems tracking two intertwined themes: the breakdown of an obsessive love affair and the vicissitudes of middle age.
Invisible Dogs, Dempster's fourteenth collection, is a complex but deeply coherent hymn to the difficult business of staying alive. This is a book for when it hurts so bad you hope you'll die and are afraid you won'tÑnot because it offers consolation or the promise of a new dawn, but because it so compellingly documents the plain, hard, ungraceful, stumbling grief of the matter, and meets it with rare self-knowledge, wry humour, and an unornamented determination to go on living.
Dempster's metaphors are like hairpin turns taken at breakneck speed. He has nerves of steel when it comes to self-examination, and it's this relentless honesty and the emotional torque it induces that keep the voice on the road.
... He scrutinizes
the rearview mirror as if it were a bush about to spring
into flames, the past appearing closer than it really is.ÊÊ
Miles of missing her, those erratic white lines.ÊÊ
He keeps forgetting where he's going Ð city,
corner store, centre of the universe. No wonder
arrival feels so temporary, like a borrowed bathroom key.
~ from "He Said/She Said"