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Book Review :: Life Cycle of the Mayfly by Maya Clubine

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

Steeped in the tannins of Heraclitus’s philosophy and the ecology of the Credit River in Ontario, Canada, Maya Clubine offers readers her chapbook Life Cycle of the Mayfly, a series of poems memorializing her relationship with her grandfather and father through the sport of fly fishing.

The “river bugs” in Clubine’s poems are the mayfly, the poet, and the men in her family from whom she learned how to tie flies and inherited flyfishing accouterments such as the waders both her grandfather and father wore. Via declarative and descriptive sentences, the movement of the poems is “catch” and “release”; their form is a memoir-epistolary hybrid.

As the poet writes her letter to her dying father, “mayflies lead the way like lanterns rising / into the air.” The precarious lifecycles of the people and insects point to Heraclitus’s philosophical declaration that there is nothing permanent except change.

Life Cycle of the Mayfly offers readers a family story; the poet’s and the mayfly’s families are “interwoven webs /.. rivers make.” The movement of the river’s waters, of the people fishing those waters, and of “mayfly wings” are the “fragile movements” of Clubine’s poems, movements that will “leave” their “traces” on your earthly heart, dear reader.

Life Cycle of the Mayfly by Maya Clubine. Vallum Chapbook Series, No. 36, 2023.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems appear.