A. F. Moritz (review date March 1979)
SOURCE: "Lines from the Junction," in Books in Canada, Vol. 8, No. 3, March, 1979, pp. 16-17.
[Moritz is a Canadian author, translator, film critic, and editor. Below, he favorably assesses Mouré's "sharply observed images of urban and industrial life" in Empire, York Street.]
Erin Mouré's first book gives us a poet in struggle with "the god of this world seen / in a green ditch beside / a railway siding." These poems set out to acknowledge the full dehumanizing weight of the world and still win affirmation. And affirmation does occur—infrequent, frail, threatened as perhaps it must be, yet powerful, because poetic strength assures us that it is real and achieved, not merely asserted.
A nervous energy of language, fresh and gripping phrases, sharply observed images of urban and industrial life—these are the most immediately striking features of Empire, York Street. Mouré is capable of nature imagery and simple lyrics, but her poetic eye more often lights on garage roofs of corrugated iron; 40-watt bulbs in the halls of cheap apartment buildings; a shipment of tungsten; electrical wiring; railway switchyards; "a certain amount of equipment / assembled on the floor."
Although our civilization is filled with junk, Mouré sees it as an attempt to transcend the sorrows of existence. Of an airplane landing, she says: "A sopped earth rises to enclose / this...
(The entire section is 501 words.)