In his new book of poems, A Matins Flywheel, John Lent brings a life-long fascination with literary forms to the hybrid prose/poetry of a new long poem called “Matins for St. Agnes of The Crossroads: 62nd Avenue and 109th Street, Edmonton,” and to the new, loose, genre-mixing poems and prose sketches about growing up in Edmonton, Lent’s love of jazz, his travel to Prague, and his remembering the writing legacy of Robert Kroetsch. Because these meditations and poems are rooted in the visceral struggles to find the necessary love and honesty required to live through some harrowing health mysteries, these meditations surface close to the bones of our contemporary lives and celebrate an almost unearthly delight of skin and texture and breath and light and love. This writing is not fooling around; it wants a lot. And like the work of Lent’s self-declared models — Robert Kroetsch, Sheila Watson, Eileen Myles, John Berger, W.G. Sebald, Per Petterson, Pierre Michon, Jake Kennedy and Marilyn Robinson — he sings the reader right smack dab back into the density of these times and some of its luminous joys and sorrows. “I feel I have been writing towards this book all my life,” Lent says, explaining what he was trying to do in A Matins Flywheel. “[The book] tries to run with everything I have learned about forms of consciousness in literature into a kind of baffling wonder at the truth of those shattering, fragmented forms themselves, the human exhilaration in them as subject and object.” A Matins Flywheel is an exciting, new book by an accomplished, innovative writer.
John Lent is a writer and teacher of writing and a singer/songwriter who has been publishing and performing since the mid-seventies. Lent has published six volumes of poetry, three volumes of fiction, and one book of conversations about the writing life with Robert Kroetsch. Lent’s last three books were The Path To Ardroe (2012), Cantilevered Songs (2009) and So It Won’t Go Away (2005). John Lent’s books have been long-listed for the Re-Lit Award, and short-listed for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. For a more detailed sense of Lent’s career go to his website: www.johnlent.ca.