Mar 15, 2016
Snapshots return! After a brief break, we are thrilled to return to the blog and we hope you are too. This week's Snapshots are brought to you by Davis Plett.
Davis Plett is a Winnipeg-based poet, musician, and theatre artist. Catch him attempting to do all three at once in his upcoming Winnipeg Fringe play, Infidelity.
George Murray's seventh collection of poetry,
Diversion, takes the pithiness of Glimpse, his previous book of aphorisms, and runs it through a bombastic malcontent's technologically mediated stream of conscience. Whereas Glimpse explored philosophy and lyricism over a series of 409 eloquent aphorisms, Diversion's poems are compilations of seemingly disconnected tweet-length lines, titled by punning hashtags, including #CivilDosconvenience, #TheBookOfExoduh, and #ThePathOfLeastExistence. Some choice lines, from the irreverent speaker: "Leaf through the Divine Sitcomedy," " I've created a petition to ask myself to please start pigging out in front of the poor," and " Inflammatory critics are probably just gluten insensitive." Often hilarious and never dull, Diversion evokes an experience of disenchantment, ennui, and sarcasm rooted in a culture of endless distraction and disjointedness, grumbled by an embittered speaker who probably wishes this sentence would just f***ing end alre—
questions i asked my mother
In "foreword," the introductory poem to Di Brandt's 1987 collection,
questions I asked my mother, the speaker begins, "learning to speak in public to write love poems / for all the world to read meant betraying once & / for all the good Mennonite daughter i tried so / unsuccessfully to become acknowledging in myself / the rebel traitor thief the one who asked too / many questions." The subsequent poems make good (or, perhaps, make ambiguous) on this paradigm. Beginning with poems tackling parents, childhood theological rebellion, and early sexual experiences, the speaker then moves into poems of adulthood: irreverent eroticism, inconvenient middle age, deaths of loved ones. In spite of their frequently rebellious tone with regards to the author's Mennonite upbringing, these poems always remain willing to entertain a dialogue, whether it be with religious sentiment, with geriatric conservatism, and, perhaps most poignantly, with the speaker's mother: "mother why didn't you tell me this / how everything in the middle of life / becomes its opposite." The collection's final poem, "looking back looking forward," finds the speaker eyeing the future, a future that includes the conflicted and yet "transformed / heart of out troubled mixed up culture(s) coming / to fruit." Recommended for those with complicated cultural legacies and a taste for poetry rich with story.
The Road In Is Not The Same Road Out
House of Anansi
If Diversions is pure glee and questions i asked my mother is an eloquent confession, then
The Road In Is Not The Same Road Out, Karen Solie's fourth collection, is an articulate enigma. Unafraid of density, philosophy, Canadian art galleries, vehicular transportation, implacable landscapes, and the radical materiality of modern life, these poems embark on a sustained exploration of alienation, confusion, and the noun-saturated thinginess of the contemporary experience. In "The World," the jaded speaker gazes at a paradoxical emptiness: "Familiarity / without intimacy is the cost of privacy, security / of a thread count so extravagant its extent can no longer / be detected. Even at capacity, The World is eerily empty." In the world of these poems, agency is limited: "Action resembles waiting for a decision made / on our behalf, then despair after the fact.” Objects have a greater potency than those who apprehend them: "The objects do not defer / but express themselves as constancy / inside which a seeming shrines, surprising / our judgement with affect. We who arrive / from nowhere in our monotony / of psychic instability, our fragility / and immaterial intuition, contrast sharply / with their variety and richness." Helplessness can only be mediated, uselessly, by decorous language: "It was the same life, more or less, / yet suddenly a flight itinerary represented / the most tangible indication of my fate." And yet however impotent language might be to grapple with or change the forces of these estranged objects, figures, or landscapes, language spins them into beautiful phrases. These poems will transport you, but the end destination is fraught with uncertainty. The road into these poems is marked by difficulty; what of the road out? That’s for you to discover.