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Review - Vancouver Sun July 14, 2001

If you found Billie Livingston's acclaimed first novel, Going Down Swinging, a tad bleak, meet her comic alter ego in this first collection of poems that probably has the ghost of Lenny Bruce clapping from a back booth.

Humour lets Livingston be introspective without getting her nose stuck in her navel. "My Version," about a romantic breakup, sets the tone for poems in which emotional illusions are wryly but relentlessly punctured. Livingston reads between the lines of friends' and lovers' small talk.

Whether it's sleepy post-coital conversation or a cosy chat with Mom about what to do if she finds her dead in her bed ("Oh. Got it. Teeth in/Vibrator Out"), she casts what are really soliloquies into the form of dialogues. This gives most of the poems a dramatic quality that reaches out to an audience.

Livingston gives us shots of the hard stuff, but served chilled and always with a twist.