An astonishing new collection of poems that question perception, meaning, and context.
How does private thinking align with public action? And what might it mean to intend something anyhow? To name our particulars? To translate from the personal to the communal, the pedestrian to the universal? In Rob Winger's new collection of poetry, such questions are less a circulatory system--heart and lungs and blood--than a ribcage, a structure that protects the parts that matter most. "I'd like to think," Winger writes, "it doesn't matter / what we meant." But is that right? Could it ever be?
Partly an investigation of system versus system error, It Doesn't Matter What We Meant asks us to own up to our own inherited contexts, our own luck or misfortune, our own ways of moving through each weekday. From meditations on sleepy wind turbines to Voyager 1's dormant thrusters, from country road culverts to the factory floor's punch clock, from allied English-to-English folkloric translations to the crumbling limestone of misremembered basements, this is poetry that complicates what it means to live within and beyond the languages, lexicons, and locations around us.
About the author
Rob Winger grew up country in small-town Ontario before graduating to post-punk and new wave. His first book, Muybridge's Horse, was named a Globe and Mail Best Book for 2007, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, Ottawa Book Award and Trillium Book Award for Poetry. An active editor and teacher, Rob recently completed a PhD in literature and cultural studies in Ottawa. He and his family live in the folk-rock hills northeast of Toronto. His second collection of poetry is The Chimney Stone (2010). Visit Rob's website at http://www.robwinger.blogspot.com/
Praise for It Doesn't Matter What We Meant and Rob Winger:
“The concluding lines of Winger’s collection – ‘I’d like to think it doesn’t matter / what we meant’ – suggests poems present less a shared experience than the coordinates of one, waiting to be populated by each reader’s specificities.” —Quill & Quire
“It is no accident that this confident, gorgeous book begins with and returns to the space probe Voyager I, still sending back its continuous data, despite everything. On his various journeys as a father, friend, reader, husband, citizen, Winger sends his data back, but this book is not a one-way transmission: with typical implicit grace and generosity, Winger thinks of us, on our journeys too. As he says to Voyager, and therefore to us, ‘I want you to know, sailor, that all of us are with you.’ These poems continually move with authentic surprise, wry intelligence, and humour, out of the ordinary, and into genuine communion. You can feel the generous attention to a reader, and presence of a companion, beaming you messages you didn’t know you needed, but do.” —Matthew Zapruder, author of Father’s Day and Why Poetry
“Wise, worrying, and playful, Winger’s It Doesn’t Matter What We Meant meditates on time, hope, complicity, and conscience; in short, on what it’s like to be alive right now. No matter what we intended the future to look like (‘Fifteen years ago, we’ll colonize the moon’), this moment, for better and worse, is what we’ve made.” —Gil Adamson, author of Ridgerunner
“How do we see? What do we know? Curious and unsatisfied, Rob Winger’s new collection It Doesn’t Matter What We Meant seems to hang in the interval between approach and grasp. A speed trap, a birch tree, comets, neighbourhood restaurants, wind turbines, predictions for the future: all and more are scrutinized in the imaginative, questioning lines of these restless, conversational poems, where observation is both steadied by a level eye and lifted with a lyric buoyancy.” —David O’Meara, author of A Pretty Sight
“Shot through with the gorgeous possibilities of an often-impossible present, It Doesn’t Matter What We Meant offers watchful snapshots of both galactic change and pocket change. In the driveway under the incandescent otherworld of space, urgent questions of access, agency, and inheritance thrum on every page. This is a collection that keeps the counsel of many seekers. Read it, and you’ll be in excellent company.”—Erin Wunker, author of Notes from a Feminist Killjoy