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Poetry Canadian

A perimeter

by (author) rob mclennan

New Star Books
Initial publish date
Nov 2016
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2016
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A new child, a new house, a new neighbourhood: rob mclennan takes the measure of his environment in A perimeter, a collection of shorter and longer pieces from 2010 to 2014. The birth of a child, and the moves that follow in its wake, brings about a defamiliarization of the world, and the poems in A perimeter reflect this newly enhanced awareness. New life, new house, new roads, new greenspaces; the news — all are caught in these keenly observed poems. A perimeter is built around three longer works: the serial "Alta Vista Poem"; "A Perimeter," a survey of the poet's new surroundings (the suburbs and countryside around his Ottawa home), and "A Rose Concordance," surrounding the first three months of his daughter, Rose. Interspersed are shorter poems reflecting on other aspects of mclennan's domestic and civilian life.

About the author

Born in Ottawa in 1970 at the late lamented Grace Hospital on Wellington Street near Parkdale Avenue, rob mclennan currently lives in directly between Ottawa`s Chinatown and Little Italy neighbourhoods, and was called "Centretown`s poet laureate" by David Gladstone in The Centretown Buzz in the mid-1990s. The author of twelve previous trade poetry collections in Canada and England, he has published poetry, fiction, interviews, reviews and columns in over two hundred publications in fourteen countries and in four languages, and done reading tours in five countries on two continents. The editor/publisher of above/ground press and the long poem magazine STANZAS (both founded in 1993), the online critical journal (with Ottawa poet Stephen Brockwell) and the Ottawa poetry annual ottawater (, he edits the ongoing Cauldron Books series through Broken Jaw Press, edited the anthologies Evergreen: six new poets (Black Moss Press), side/lines: a new canadian poetics (Insomniac Press), GROUNDSWELL: the best of above/ground press, 1993-2003 (Broken Jaw Press) and Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (Chaudiere Books), and runs the semi-annual ottawa small press book fair, which he co-founded in 1994, currently under the umbrella of the small press action network - ottawa (span-o), which he also runs. Fall 2007 sees the appearance of a new poetry collection with Ireland`s Salmon Publishing, a collection of literary essays appears with Toronto`s ECW Press, and a title for Vancouver publisher Arsenal Pulp Press, Ottawa: The Unknown City. His online home is at, and he often posts reviews, essays, rants and other nonsense at

rob mclennan's profile page

Excerpt: A perimeter (by (author) rob mclennan)

A The property boundary is handmade (shared). Fluid, and only fluid. Unless you know precisely where. The skin and space of white noise (hearth). One hundred foot of fence. Language is impermanent. We retain nothing, have no specific form. The latent grass, explode; infect the yard and underneath the stone-work. The neighbour’s garden, glistens. Scars. We translate always from another. B Confirm my personal association. The lawn requires trim, and so it does. A sanity short of despair. Lawn ornaments are temporal. And yet: this sky of relative divergence upon the written word, my daughter’s childhood memories. What separates us no more a thickness than this house brick. At best, let’s say.

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