Ottawa writer Rob Mclennan, in his 11th book, aubade (Broken Jaw, 156 pages, $22) writes poems that look very unconventional on the page.
Lines might begin with a colon or a comma, and abbreviations like "thot," "thru," and "w/" dot the pages. These short poems look extremely informal, and often veer into deliberate obscurity.
The book's epigraph is from George Bowering, whose delight in seemingly arbitrary form and content obviously serves as inspiration for the much younger Mclennan.
At 37, Mclennan has a 12th book coming out later this year, and even with that furious pace, he can write funny, expressive work like this: "would i compare thee to a summers fray,/ or a red martini, artificially coloured/ in an island heat, w/ a grain of sand/ scraping clothes & skin."
Mclennan at his best makes many other poets look like joyless self-censors. For an example on the newsstand, read his fine ghazal in the February issue of The Walrus magazine.
I quite like "joyless self-censors." Heh. But still. Is it worth telling him that aubade is my 12th trade poetry collection? Is it worth telling him I'm still only thirty-six? As the first actual review of the collection (apart from Amanda Earl's blog notes), am I even allowed to complain?
Today answering questions for Haas Bianchi for an upcoming profile on Chicago Postmodern Poetry...