Canadian winter can be a strange and magical time. There’s a bizarre comforting and distressing feeling when you come inside after spending time outside on a cold winter night. Like the world has warmed up just to thaw you, but you still feel the pinch of winter burning your skin. This is how it felt to read Amery Sandford’s A Snowflake in July. It was one of the poetry comic that struck me on this year’s World Poetry Day.
A Snowflake in July conjures up melancholy and longing. With a single sentence, it summons an entire universe of possibility, of meaning. That is one of the greatest strengths of poetry comics, how it can bring up the strongest response in you with the smallest efforts. Snowflake in July is a spare poetry comic, with few words, and just enough images to make it evocative. It’s an enigma that can be interpreted in so many ways. Early on, under a dark moonlit sky, we see a house on a small parcel of land surrounded by a moat and a small bridge. There’s overgrown grass scattered around. A small bush is visible and we see two pairs of legs. Someone is on their back, someone else is on their lying on their front and has one leg up in the air. There’s a single line of text, I tried to remember it a certain way. Was it two lovers romance under the stars, or something else? There’s a very interesting contrast between the reality depicted and the text we read. Are we suppose to take this as sincere romance, or is the reader meant to be more skeptical?
Amery Sandford mentions at the end of the book the simple sentence “I don’t think he’s coming ” and with this, we’re propelled into a spiral of melancholy, doubt, frustration, pain and disappointment. Is that person not coming back a good thing? Again, there’s a dichotomy between the implied and the real, leaving much for the reader to discover and make assumptions on.
That’s been one of the interesting thing in discovering Amery Sandford’s work. The way she uses words to force the reader to reassess what’s in front of their eyes. She manages to introduce doubt, or even mistrust, to make the reader interpret meanings in wildly different ways. Even the title suggests a contrast between the beauty of a snowflake and pointlessness of it appearing in July. It’s something that is to disappear as soon as it appears.
I have been unable to find much trace of this comic on the internet A Snowflake in July appeared in my life and I’m glad for it. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more work from Amery Sandford, there is great depth in her poetry.
A Snowflake in July