Tangle by Julie Cameron Gray

Source: Tightrope Books
Paperback, 96 pages
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Tangle by Julie Cameron Gray is a collection of poems that weave in and out of one another, exploring the twisted up relationships between family and between lovers.  These poems are a tangled web that must be read and re-read, read out of order, in order, at random.  The themes vacillate from obsession to the breaking free of obsession to find yet another.  Section two is witty and sad in its emphasis on the mundane working life of workaholics everywhere.  This hodgepodge of poems works to tangle and untangle the complexity of our lives and to point out the most mundane.

From "Never: Red Fable" (page 15)

Never for a mouth crushed with roses.
Never wolf, never red cape, have and having
to which I want to say, hoodless,
again and again and again, lick
the edges of red absence from your lips,
and you'll want twice,
and then--
gently if you can.
You will never be this red again.

Gray’s lines roll out and back in, onto themselves, creating lyrical puzzles that lull readers into a song … losing themselves in the mystery of her words.  Whether it is “Haiku for Penguins in a Box” that surprise the reader with its content or the illustrated nature of “The Commuter’s Elimination Dance” (a personal favorite of mine), Gray is imaginative and innovative in her poetry, pushing the envelope as far as it will go.  Sometimes, she even breaks free of that envelope to set her imagery free.

Tangle by Julie Cameron Gray explores the gap between human experiences and the understanding of those experiences, she tackles the relationships humans have to one another and to their own work lives, and she juxtaposes the wild lives of animals with that of urbanity.  While these poems are glorious in imagery and verse, they may be a little tougher for beginning readers to understand upon first reading.

Book 17 for the Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014.




34th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.


  1. It’s probably over my head but I’m intrigued.