Melanie Janisse-Barlow’s second book of poetry, Thicket, is a treatise on risk and the uncertainties of language in the modern world. In poems that gather and collect force page after page, Thicket negotiates humankind’s overwhelming desire to communicate, and the discomfort that comes with the process of entanglement/disentanglement. When Janisse-Barlow writes of a “thousand awkward conversations,” she’s working away at the knots of language, unraveling and recombining the threads to create self-styled lyric essays. Thicket is a linguistic tour de force.
Melanie Janisse-Barlow is a poet and artist. Her first collection of poetry, Orioles in the Oranges (Guernica, 2009), was listed for the Relit Award, and her essay poems, entitled Detroit, were listed in Best American Essays in 2013. She has published in a variety of anthologies and journals in Canada and the US, and her painting practice includes The Poets Series (www.poets-series-project.com) —a popular portraiture series of contemporary poets, widely received and reviewed most recently in Poets and Writers, Taddle Creek, The Humber Literary Review, and Quill and Quire. She lives between her home in Windsor, Ontario and her wooden boat Kalinka in Toronto, Ontario.