Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Against the Hard Angle, matt robinson

After a bit of a pause, Vernon BC poet/publisher/designer Jason Dewinetz has returned to publishing through his Greenboathouse Books, with (among others) the $65 limited edition Against the Hard Angle by matt robinson. In this small edition, there is a sharpness to robinson’s work that comes closer to that essential sharpness that his writing writes up to, closer than he’s ever been before; is this robinson hardening his edge, or is it simply a matter of his poems in smaller packages?

to call it a pause is not

quite right. it’s simply a moment

drawn out and snapped

tight, so taut as to cut

this thick air like soft cheese

In this collection of nine single-page poems, robinson writes each piece as a single, sweeping gesture. A hockey fan himself, and author of numerous hockey poems, robinson understands the fluid movement of the large gesture, working as tight as it requires, and these poems float along in graceful movements of both deliberate ease and a gravity, working a complex ease that only comes with steady attention and a steel gaze. After everything that has come before, is this robinson coming out of what was good into shades of what might even be great?

a holiday offering

let me say this much,

he says:

i have nothing here to offer you

this christmas:

nothing but

the now blooming pulse of what we’ve known

this year as it leaks – smashed

bottle-spilt –

from the heel

of my left hand. my tongue –

a fist – is heavy with this

salt gift,

with the heft of knowing that it is

at once both

all too much and so clearly



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