Friday, August 31, 2012

Truck's new driver for September

After a splendid month on the road with rob mclennan, the wheel of Truck will be handed over tomorrow to Georgios Tsangaris. Many thanks, rob. And, Georgios, the keys are over the sun-visor. Watch out for water-covered roadways. Hydroplaning sounds like fun, but it probably isn't.

That's quite enough of that, giant fireball in the sky. You just quit it now. by rob mclennan

for Christine McNair,

            Tell me more about
            crayons, contingency
            and winter fruit
                        Juliana Leslie, More Radiant Signal


Long held, tradition. Bodes. A swimmer's tongue, a toque. This camoflauge. We open at the waist.

I live, inside. So, lost at sea. Orchestral. The middle of a boy. Blind knot, among.

Misunderstandings. Limit, some. A twitterfeed. The possibilities of narratives, themes.

To bring her paper, eat. Long foot, they sketch. Model, cast. A train is not a marriage.

Immaculate. Without the aid of, mirrors. Marketing, a greater language. Listen, son.


Not, out of mind. Poor scowling mouths. Who says, the wind. A street name. Who says, pour.

When, is attitude enough. Our midnight throats, a scar. Sweet, swallow. Birds.

Somewhere between ten, eleven. An organized blur, she vanished. I pictured, sun. Myself.

Split, into a middle. Term. Arms, through skin. Another contour, wake. This. How, I do not say.

I want, vernacular. Swimming, hub of stars. Ophelia, Kryptonite. Sad songs. You, this youness.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan [photo by Christine McNair] currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2011, and his most recent titles are the poetry collections grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2012), A (short) history of l. (BuschekBooks, 2011), Glengarry (Talonbooks, 2011) and kate street (Moira, 2011), and a second novel, missing persons (2009), as well as a slew of recent chapbooks with above/ground press, little red leaves textile editions, Corrupt Press, Grey Borders Books, Gorse Press, Free Poetry For, unarmed journal, &then&then, The Red Ceilings Press, Apostrophe Press and Smallminded Books. An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books (with Jennifer Mulligan), The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dancing, by George Bowering

Dancing always made me sad,
the kind of sad you had when you were eight
and looked at the stuff left in a bucket
after the white chicken was chopped and plucked and
disembowelled. Your only support was that
you would never eat a bite of any chicken, never
put a fork into a fish, eat only flesh that was unlike
its former moving self. Meatballs were like breath,
a gift of the ground you yourself came into the air above
as if an onion, a leek, a boy should have had glasses,
he was always reading so. Any photos of that kid reading
show a most serious face, but if they could have caught him
dancing they’d have been impressed by his sadness. Hands
in the air might as well be a beaver on a slide, the air of April
might as well be arithmetic in another language, feet moving
without orders to be somewhere else will never, never
line up on the side of the turning world, turning slow enough
to keep its topsoil from sliding into orbit.

George Bowering is a veteran poet who also writes fiction and other prose. His new novel is a memoir titled Pinboy. In 2013 we'll see his newest poetry collection, titled Teeth.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

fear #17, by Kim Minkus

vantage point
fear of self
a closed door
loaded fear
fear of fear man in fear
she is looking down
fear jacket
scene shift
fear machine
chain link
fear sharp teeth of fear same
toward something badly lit
grasping fear
each hallway leading
sharp teeth of fear

we the camera

fear lock
she glances back
brutal fear
steps forward
necessary fear
barely opens door
fear birth
possibly above her
vertiginous fear
difficult to defend
fear world
false humanity
in accordance with fear
one organ note
says fear
counter terror
a little in fear
flutters against the glass
belief in fear
across the room from her
fear glued
you’ll hear us
fear scrolling fear
waiting restrictions
despite all fear
not related to him
fear magnified
only turn it off to replace it
fear installment
cannot film it because it is not really there
states of fear
across the screen
fear public arousal
this is fear
this is a question

fear intended to serve fear
you do not need a special talent
unravel fear
she turns on a light
fear coupling
happy but dark
fear actual things
crystal hanging
fear plentitude
set backs
cynical fear
hope that prisoner
prefers fear
this is cinema
confirms fear
how subtle it is
fear power
they are not lit
fear change
image of a woman

when we select fear
we think we understand
we’re getting fear
once in place
fear tricks
no frames
fear specific
fear surplus

without rest
fear community
another story about a woman
fear persecution
fettered to its author
fear past, present, future
turn it off
fear confusion exactly
a voice begins
the same and always evenly
fear the camera
pamper her
describing something barely
fear is wide
without a sense of transfer or rest
fear limbo
softly and misleading
a fear cascade

let’s say it ends now

Kim Minkus is a poet with three books of poetry: 9 Freight (LINEbooks 2007), Thresh (Snare Books 2009) and Tuft (forthcoming from BookThug in 2013). She has had reviews, poetry and fiction published in The Capilano Review, FRONT Magazine, West Coast Line, The Poetic Front, and Jacket. She is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University and also teaches creative writing at Capilano University.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Acoustic North (an excerpt), by Rob Budde

The word “scenic” stuck in the back of your throat as you trample the mycelium. The word “wilderness” as the multiple algae blooms cleanse the spill. The word “refuge” as the word “recreation” is nailed up beside the highway. The word “cut” as TFL tenures cease their intent.

The word “resource” as the job ad for customer relations is posted. The word “plastic” blasts through the interior of everything. The word “tree” caught in traffic at Robson and Granville.

The words “joint review panel” set the stage and lighting and charge admission at the door and chat over drinks at the hotel bar, tip big. The word “com- passion” sidles up the scree slope hoping to the catch the human world by surprise.

The word “acoustic” you assumed would sound causal and contain a semblance of musicality—or something moves to the west and the grunt/call echoes off the boundaries of what is allowed. The word “form”—as in the poetic page arrangement—has with most things a controversy or conflict—decisions to be made or what to read when. The community of words seeds and grows and declines in nonlinear and multiple patch dynamics and ‘you are here’ indications depend not on where you are but who you are speaking to and with what respect.

The word “salmon” is carved in wood, cellular strands of a scent that stays on your hands for days.

The word “animal” is an app automatically installed in your hard drive. Over and over emotional contact is put in parentheses and “attributed” to someone else. The word “human” presses cruise control and listens to satellite radio for messages about childhood trauma and healing.

The word “hoolhghulh” is a boss plant, my guide, my new grandfather, a “mystery” that will never be undone. The word “pipeline” a colonial moment of mistaken identity, with bulldozers at the ready and contractors already contracted out, and the word is that this will be the big one.

The word “poetry” cascades with further signs of possibility; it sends fronds and rootlets out to test the nutrients of new ground and finds the gaps in discourse where some are lost and some are found.

Rob Budde has published seven books (four poetry--Catch as Catch, traffick, Finding Ft. George, and declining america), two novels--Misshapen and The Dying Poem, and a book of short fiction--Flicker). In 2002, Rob facilitated a collection of interviews (In Muddy Water: Conversations with 11 Poets). Rob teaches creative writing and Canadian Literature at UNBC in Prince George. He has been a finalist for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year. In 1995, Budde completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. He is currently working on a science fiction/cyberpunk novel called The Overcode, a study of Devil’s Club called Panax, and a book of poems about a character named "Poem" called Poem's Poems.

Monday, August 27, 2012

life of the mind

which differs from person to person yet still has    
     such similarities as to make from it a greater life
(although some have ideas of privacy or
     limits to their lives or their thoughts which are
so great that they have no extension)

could this be entirely performative, with no deep
    structure, nothing fundamental, supportive, basic?
(or in the search through untold excesses of
       activities are such questions in doubt?)

what of the nutritive organs?
    from where comes expansion?

brain & mind did a dance to find the what of existence,
the stance of extension, the distance of defiance, the lust
of romance, the romance of ideas, the leas of the past,
passing, at last, into a light of understood compassion

self & others separate yet joined in comprehension  
of mental examination, germination & interaction

is it possible that the felicity of “freedom”
    be denied in the complexity of a foundation
           sufficient to both build & continuously
    break down billions on billions of natural     
       activities immediately proceeding from this    
so that human endeavor can be precipitated
            out of these multitudinous non-iterative
repetitions including such  peculiar chances
      as the emergence of a democracy supporting
& supplying each citizen with the necessities
         of life in a continuity of co-operation
thus great commonwealths, engines, angels,
         psychopaths & feces spring from minds &
     bodies, disappearing in instants
             or generations:
                            spray over oceans


Judith Copithorne: I recently published ..where?...oh yes in 17 seconds the on-line magazine created by the redoubtable rob mclennan.  And these pieces were given a great twist by Roland Prevost the amazing web person who prepared these concrete pieces for the magazine by making them into little film clips!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Starbucks makes great coffee, internet treachery, so I'm not going to pretend there's a poem which compares to pie graphs because, after all, the last review of my writing commented mostly (and negatively) about my weight. by David McGimpsey

If I was to wear your little red square
it would be to commemorate the death
of a dear friend - and if that friend's name
was Reddinger "LaRouge" Crimsonforce.

If I was to express my best days with you
of course I'd mention the shrimp croquettes
but I'd earn my poet's pay in images
of a hurt man trying to talk to a truck.

If I was to go back in time it would be
just before whoever wrote "If I Could
Turn Back Time" for Cher but I would still
come back with a poem much like this.

If I was to sleep all day, I'd give it all
to you and you'd get remarried, remarried
like you used to do! Like you used to chew
licorice red, mon petite square-head.

David McGimpsey lives in Montreal and is the author of five collections of poetry including the recent Li'l Bastard (Coach House Books) which was named as one of the "books of the year" by both The Quill and Quire and The National Post. David teaches creative writing and literature at Concordia University.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I practice my killing on spiders
I practice holding my pencil and my gun better

When I have some paper
I don’t like to write

I like to draw pictures: helicopters and flowers

At night I fly out of bed
Into the shadows of men dancing together

I listen to soldiers play black guitars in the street

I know all the songs bad men love
Sometimes they play with me in the field

Sometimes they come to dance with my quiet sisters

I feel my hunger when the street is silent and there is no singing
I think that when there is music

no-one can stop me from dancing

Shannon Bramer's most recent book of poems is The Refrigerator Memory, published by Coach House Books in 2005. Her first play, Monarita, was produced in St.John's, Newfoundland in 2010 and has since appeared at festivals in Winnipeg, Halifax, Hamilton and Toronto.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Into the Blind World (part two), by Barry McKinnon

                    the mountain

ascent beckons     as the    descent beckoned
/ now measured  by measure of endurance equal to its challenge

who   in hell    do you think     you are?

in what is ahead by truth or verisimilitude:

 a road

we will not
come this way again.  the shadow you cast is the past/passed by
heaps / memories rubble weightless – a flash

flesh once loved /now thot lost  -
to the promise you made in the weak sense of what desire it was to be
attained.  the flesh again/ the only light

it’s hope;  driven to its source ( our shadow  cast to the shadowy
figures who beg   to ask   to think we know

our time.   wasted steps?   is all now
direction in what seemed  directionless? – thus: 

one foot/ the other

diminished hope   yet hope still

when darker it gets – now determines how we go


the tyrannical
we met along the way:  their time now spent as burden & weight /for the energy they consumed

we travel   as a secret   to re enter  the world/ a reverse  to those
who judge – & become what they protest
the cowards cowering for all to be correct/ self righteousness  their present
defeat    when our presence brings them forth

the mountain is still beyond.  sun as ... what it reveals -  contours of  what
it is to be    sad along the ridge  shaken by a sense of a complex/ simplified

by what we can not say. 

oh well,  a sigh to the spring still left ... our steps 

closer to what is sought -  the image of impossibility to
become a shape – the female form that waits   
in this same anticipation  


yet this want to erase what we thrive upon, this unrequited sense that drives
me on.  consummations of self, to reverse the nether world made to unfold what

the mountain is  

 the self  -
 the shadow of its weight inside
/out  to form its tangible light -  to form & divine -

the divisive self?

- as when this dark defines its light /escapes from those it shields.  we saw
them in all their forms:  the mountains of self/ the consequence of ego &
what rids us of it: 


sorrow amends pride   to humility: 

the beaten

as in the dream – I hurled myself to snow.  martyred, petulant –
her refusal condemned me.  I trudged  thru snow

snow/   to a darker globe   /beneath    pins   of stars


blind/beggars  propped in a unison of disbelief – a kind of horror to recognize
their condition:  terminal cases / envious.  we pass them by.  if I cared
I cared  / was spared / was them
to bear / & refuse my temptation for delight


I was defined
by those I describe:  the brutes
-  their domain remains/defined by those they exile.  those exiled /no place to go
blackballed to a powerless misery.  then all gets beaten. the beater, the beaten

the godforsaken industrial ditch I vow   I never lived in.


stare ahead:  the distance  up & down  /  me  /  healed by pain I thot
defeated me. did it make me?  or in this defeat I saw more – a perplexity of all thot known
thrown out    the window.   I wanted some outside to reach me/ to reverse
the repel of the magnet force of what closest seen -  seem                                        

in the opaque light  I’m  guideless

in the blinding smoke

the blind world again

 – this path/
our crooked gait - to trace what’s
left behind/ahead

distance & ascent   in mist & veil 

what is our source and aim?


who’s forgiveness  will erase ...

all I rued
- could not see  or find  or vent,  relieve my sense of diminished time

my impatience – these thin cracks
    of light

 ... this fog, the mountains, the hummocks 
thinned and blue – literal/     wordless

must see myself
or be a fool as the illusionists
who cast us out

love /  now crippled –  wrecked (by proportion to its

the world
to disappear – /leave us from the
dark  or blinding light?


mist  /  veil      stone
I become   separate by the sadness that makes me 
this gloomy face hoping

in this weight to pierce
illusion - & when it real  to know

& then be lifted from this gloomy spot: 


my stingy heart  went out

was their stinginess revealed


a  hole opens space for love’s return? 

this dark sky  ripped to another dawn –

light and dark  disengage

so we see the weary self again?


our shadows over
shadows /  hear voices from the starved
in wonder of what their grief is worth – worthless  
their wasted days – the flat/meaningless world without an object
of desire.  this is what I grieve - & fear:  I must become
the guide -  in the unreciprocal world, yet be worthy of its grief. 

my hope /
lachrymose – a deluge  

the loss  – what one had, never had? 

me no longer me?


the cliff
above/below -

I’m barely tethered   
by dimming light - my measure  of time
- a road with out impediment to some final light to confirm
its end



the seduction seemed
meaningless/remembered for its exhaustion
- that threw me
further into  what I cld not redeem

I learned opposites.  refusal as action
silence its speech. 

lost to be found again?  held  that time would let me go
in what knowing we’d be

if we knew time ahead exists as we hope it now:

a brighter path / the crooked world 


loathing what I had to enter

my restraint not equal to what it needed -
my fear sent me further -

what was it
you saw sent you –
into the world


nowhere to nowhere

to what you thot  not meant

amidst the fire, buzzards, beasts & this blind ascent to breaking light ahead

Part Two

Part Two is jagged meditation prompted by various lines from Dante’s The Divine Comedy: Purgatory, translated by Dorothy L. Sayers.  As in Part One, I’ve left out literal details or reference to the various characters being punished for their various sins, or the specific imagery of Dante’s ascent into purgatorio’s mountain landscape; instead, I wanted to get to some measure of my own thought and experience via fragments/statements, or as Robin Blaser said - a “reopening of words” - to let them go their own way - & to be ahead of any thinking that might hold them back.  The task & pleasure was not to immediately understand what was written, but to sense what I hoped, a kind of frayed truth about my own emotional life and experience.  I wanted the abstracted language/ loops to contain and reveal contradictions, ironies, cruelties, & various forms of human folly anyone with eyes open will perceive daily in the present world.  Another task with the writing:  to avoid the presumption that one is exempt from the various conditions described:  “the world is blind /And thou are of it”(Canto xvi).  The presumption was to enter the beauty of Dante’s knowledge and truth as the basis for whatever inspiration I was given in an attempt to speak within the themes of exile and desire.  

Dante in the last Purgatorio Canto xxxiii is renewed, and again, as in Hell Canto xxxiii he is “Pure and prepared to leap up to the stars”. In both Part One (and Two here) I make no reference to “stars” but I do repeat the phrase “light ahead” to indicate the onward journey.  

 the ascent beckons/ as the descent beckoned is a variation of the first line in William Carlos William’s poem “The Descent.”

“what was it/you saw sent you – /into the world/packing” is a slight variation of lines written in a notebook by poet Katia Grubisic during a conversation in the Arc Lounge in Ottawa (March 2012).

My conversations with artist/poet/teacher Graham Pearce prompted other thoughts/lines/considerations. 

Barry McKinnon [photo by Red Shuttleworth, Moses Lake WA, spring 2012] was born in 1944 in Calgary Alberta, where he grew up.  In 1965, after two years at Mount Royal College, he went to Sir George Williams University in Montreal and took poetry courses with Irving Layton. He graduated in 1967 with a B.A. degree. In 1969, he graduated with an M.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and was hired that same year to teach English at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George where he has lived and worked ever since.

Barry McKinnon’s
The the was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for poetry in 1080. Pulp Log was the winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award for the B.C. Book Prizes in 1991 and Arrhythmia was the winner of the bpNichol Chapbook Award for the best chapbook published in Canada in English in 1994. His chapbook Surety Disappears was the runner-up for the bpNichol Award in 2008.

His most recent trade collections include
In the Millennium (Vancouver: New Star, 2009) and The Centre: Poems 1970-2000 (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2004). above/ground press published the first section of this poem as Into the Blind World (above/ground press, 2012).