Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mark Truscott, Said Like Reeds Or Things
2004, Coach House Books, $14.95 CDN / $10.95 US
90 pages, isbn 1 55245 145 3


Air: alone:
you are


the dust

the window


moment, airily

as this
pen, these


The precision of the poems in Mark Truscott’s first collection of poems, Said Like Reeds Or Things, is quite lovely. The sparseness that doesn’t read sparse. Truscott is probably one of the only poets I’ve seen who really seems to have learned and understood the precision in the poems of Paris, Ontario poet and bookseller Nelson Ball. Even more perhaps than jwcurry.


Knowing he’s dead, Glenn Gould plays Schoenberg.
Knowing he’s dead, Glenn Gould plays Schoenberg.

It’s the ease he brings to the poems that really impresses, putting so much in so little, and an ease that makes the poems appear so deceptively simple on the surface, until you fall deeper in. There are so few Canadian poets who really understand the use of spacing and physical space on the page (Saskatoon’s Sylvia Legris being one of them). In his Said Like Reeds Or Things, Truscott is our poet of the infinite moment.


It’s true, air conditioning
makes you feel more in control.
The grass between tents at the picnic
is getting worn down. Prepositions
pass the muster. Lisa
passes the salt. Who
will tip the waiter?
Bush speaks urgently in the Rose Garden.
Misunderstanding is its own reward.

Mark reads in Ottawa at The Factory Reading Series (7pm, Gallery 101, 236 Nepean Street) on Friday, April 8th (his 35th birthday) with Toronto poet Rachel Zolf & Ottawa poet Wanda O’Connor.


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