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Poetry Canadian

gifts

by (author) rob mclennan

Publisher
Talonbooks
Initial publish date
Jun 2009
Category
Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780889226050
    Publish Date
    Jun 2009
    List Price
    $18.95

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Description

The eponymous first part of mclennan’s new book consists of fifty “gifts” each centred around words, phrases, or “glyphs” of language that initiate and replicate their own fractal transformations: some remain simply found fragments about which other words and phrases unfold, some lose themselves into pieces that we forget were once found, some mirror themselves in other forms, others become simply something other in language as it moves both with and away from them, each creating a syntax of meaning that is specific to its own occasion. All are addressed to the poet’s intimates—two dozen are, significantly, valentines—the rest admonitions, remembrances, messages and homages made public by the readers’ acts of witness.

In part two, “incomplete,” we are invited to watch the poet robbed of his intent as unexpected words interrupt his texts, turning declaratives into interrogatives, questions into requests: “would you leave (accidental) behind”?each poem an apparent loop of closure, but one that signifies its “failure” or incompletion by ending, or starting over again, with its first [title] word. In part three, “weightless,” the poet frees the signifier from the weight of the signified. He brackets and strikes through what we think of as “known” in the “real world” that is always outside language, because it is [named].

What unifies or makes these four parts into a book are the personae the poet assigns to the lover: in the first as an intimate; in the second as an interruption of the determinative self—the other that brings us back to the self; in the third as an undefinable and thereby unattainable weightlessness; and finally as the gravitational pull of the landscape itself—all of them “unfinished” at the speaker’s age, as the title of part four implies: “[sex at thirty-eight] unfinished shield notes: letters to g.”

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 Poetics.ca (with Ottawa poet Stephen Brockwell) and the Ottawa poetry annual ottawater (ottawater.com), 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 www.track0.com/rob_mclennan, and he often posts reviews, essays, rants and other nonsense at www.robmclennan.blogspot.com.

rob mclennan's profile page

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