Ilona Martonfi's poems in Blue Poppy have more human than literary interest. She writes about life as a refugee (she was born in Hungary, was a refugee in Germany) and as an immigrant to Montreal. Much of her work is about family relationships, and these are probably the most successful. Others deal with an abusive marriage and an ensuing bitter divorce with all the complications of dividing property. The reader will sympathize with her plight but the poetry usually tells what happened without turning it into art. The best of the poems about domestic turmoil is "Weddings," which catalogues the family members who went to each family wedding: a whole set of complex and conflicted relationships emerges in a series of couplets. The tidiness of the form collides with the untidiness of the relationships.
Bert Almon’s new book, Waiting for the Gulf Stream, is due from Hagios Press in the autumn of 2010.