T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Ernie Ford, Buddha and Jesus, Jung and Heidegger. Love, solitude, obliteration, the ocean, and a sad neighbor who feeds pigeons. Metanoia is an aphoristically narrative poem that engages all of these, a book-length meditation on transformation, enlightenment, and on opening one's eyes. McCartney's work evinces that journey, the junket into the self.
Sharon McCartney is the author of numerous poetry books. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop and an LLB from the University of Victoria. She lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where she works as a legal editor.
This poetry collection from McCartney (The Love Song of Laura Ingalls Wilder) is part satire, part self-examination, and far more layered than it first appears. Working largely in free verse, McCartney tackles subjects that move from the personal, including love affairs, marriage, and divorce, to the philosophical, complete with asides, jabs, and barbs: "Don't you hate it when the Buddhists get all emptier than thou?" The poems explore the complexities of her collection's title which primarily refers to a spiritual conversion but here also applies more broadly to a transformation of character or state and of the speaker. Moving between levity and sincerity in a short span, often in the same piece, the collection can at times be dizzying in its effect, but it is not an unwelcome discombobulation. And McCartney's work is always tangibly real: "Mother said, Smile./ Learn to cook Swiss steak. Sew a French seam. Be a good wife.'/ I think, now, that she should have known better." Or: "I am not alone./ I am in an exclusive relationship with myself." The collection is brilliant: short, sharp, and eminently readable. Although it is a quick read, it is a deeply satisfying one.