Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Rupert Loydell reviews my poetry collections a compact of words (Salmon) and grief notes: (BlazeVOX)

British poet, editor and publisher Rupert Loydell was good enough to review two of my recent poetry collections in his "Recent Reading: Poetic Conversations," reviewing Enigma and Light, David Mutschlecner (96pp, Ashahta), My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer, Paige Ackerson-Kiely (109pp, $17.50, Ashahta), The Rapture, Tim Cumming (81pp, Salt), Voluntary, Adam Thorpe (67pp, £10.00, Cape), a compact of words, rob mclennan (95pp, 12 euros, Salmon) and grief notes, rob mclennan (76pp, BlazeVOX).

Here is what Loydell was good enough to say about my work (click here for the full review):

rob mclennan (sic; the lower case is his insistence, not my mistake) is far from ordinary. He has an amazing writing and publishing output, and cannot fail to be on the radar of any poetry reader paying attention. From his Canadian base mclennan runs a pamphlet press, various book fairs and events, online journals of both poetry and poetics, inbetween travelling widely to book fairs, conferences and events around the world. En route he enthuses, challenges and networks and leaves in his wake a fine poetic output.

I've just caught up with his 2009 book, a compact of words, from Irish publisher Salmon, a book rooted in domestic matters, including familial breakdown/break up. Much of mclennan's work here is his trademark, or at least familiar, single or two line verses, drawing on the ghazal as a form, with diverse images and ideas accruing meaning as the poem goes on, but others are more straightforward and lyrical, particularly the poems in 'blindness: seven poems for kate'. These are poems which pick at mental and emotional scabs, states of being, poems which articulate real life but aren't afraid to confuse and abuse the norm.
what is the difference between song & burial

the difference of another document
[from 'the wrong man']
grief notes perhaps continues to chart a separation, but through an act of remembering and mourning. This book is one sequence or set of poems, each including the book title and then a further phrase. These are neither mawkish nor indulgent works, though, these are clever articulations of memory and loss, doubt and at times despair. Who hasn't, like mclennan been full of regret like this?:
I remember: whispers made
in sudden fields

as certain & as wrong as words
[from 'grief notes: weather,']
Slowly, slowly the poems build, through emotional aside, careful consideration, rant and rave, articulate and inarticulate thought to the final realisation that
hope is a four-letter word
just as dangerous, a further
street or river that then

leads sight, not the future,
but realizing we have one.
rob mclennan is original and hard-working, a writer who writes rather than pontificates, a doer and a maker and grief notes: is one of his best books to date.

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