Poetry: Everyone at This Party by Tanja Bartel

Everyone at this Party

My time here is chapped. I brush up against the tepid wind, wither against leaning
fences. I count on falling, for its freedom. Dismiss me. It’s better that way. Barbeques
smoke, lawnmowers cough rocks. A coiled garden hose is some protection, but not
from nuclear war. The suburbs teem with alcoholic fits.
— “Subdivision”

In Everyone at This Party (Gooselane) Tanja Bartel’s riveting poetry debut, the bucolic Vancouver suburbs clash with the interpersonal. The reader dips into the lives of individuals whose day-to-day is anything but peaceful, altered by luck and choice, fear and failure. In poems that light upon themes such as regret, guilt, and human empathy, Bartel highlights the arbitrary nature of life and the demons that persist within.

Unsentimental and blunt, but ultimately forgiving, Everyone at This Party scans the suburbs and tries to make sense of our private selves.

Bartel holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous venues including Geist, the Antigonish Review, and the American Journal of Medical Genetics. She lives in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. ◊

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