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Poetry Death

Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play

by (author) Jake Kennedy

Book*hug Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2015
Death, General, Canadian
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
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    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
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In 1981 Jake Kennedy accidentally burnt down an abandoned house. Years later as an adult, he read a story about how Kurt Schwitters' "interior house-sculpture" ("Merz Structure No. 2") was destroyed in 1951 after some children playing with matches accidentally burnt the building down. This sad 'unmaking,' so similar in nature to his own haunting experience, became the inspiration for Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play, a collection of experimental poetry that explores the dynamic, if often unsettling, relationship between making and unmaking, bliss and pain, utterance and silence.

As diverse in form as they are in artistic/cultural references, the poems of Merz Structure No. 2 invoke an endless bounty of characters: the poet remembers Harold Ramis; Kafka summons the courage to tell his dad where to go; another tornado razes another small town; Yorick returns to run balls-out into the sea; Louise Bourgeois smashes a tea cup against one of her sculptures.

Readers who connect with Phil Hall's artistic investigations in Killdeer and Lisa Robertson's clear-eyed take on humanity in Magenta Soul Whip will enjoy Kennedy's feeling examination of loss in Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play.

About the author

Jake Kennedy is the author of two poetry collections: The Lateral (2010) and Apollinaire's Speech to the War Medic (BookThug, 2011). His work has appeared in literary journals across Canada, the US, and the UK, including The Capilano Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and The Awl. Kennedy is the recipient of the bpNichol Chapbook Award for Hazard (BookThug, 2007), the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry for The Lateral (2010), and the Robin Blaser Award for Poetry for the long poem "Futuromani" (2011). He also received a BC Arts Council Writing Grant in 2013. Kennedy lives in Kelowna, BC, where he teach English literature and creative writing at Okanagan College. Connect with Kennedy on his blog (shared with Kevin McPherson Eckhoff) or on Twitter @GmorningPoetry.

Jake Kennedy's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Apollinaire's Speech to the War Medic by Jake Kennedy

"By turns unexpected, provocative, surreal and amusing."--Brent Wood for University of Toronto Quarterly

"Kennedy's style is stark but suggests much."-- Jonathan Ball for Winnipeg Free Press

"For all the tight lyric cadence of [Kennedy's] poems [in Apollinaire's Speech to the War Medic], there is a lightness that moves at breathtaking speed, at breathtaking ease, leaping from point to point."--rob mclennan for Galatea Resurrects

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