Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Yes, of course there is avant-lyric, a category of luxury, unreasonable and succulent. It remembers poetry but yearns for architecture. Its prose furls, disjunctively connects, refuses all manner of numbing faux realism, unconscious confession, myopic perspective, it provokes more than soothes. It has sniffed out the underbelly of lyric and though it admires the rigging, wants more than a polite, contained, cocktail-fueled jaunt across the bay. It isn't tidal, no, it wants to soar.

Speaking of which... A lovely little book landed on my desk of late called 9 Freight, by Kim Minkus. Having never met and only just discovered said text, recently published by Line Books out of Vancouver, my curiosity is piqued, as is my ear:

My affections have altered. my soul is in my condo. I am sending my
body into the world. I want to sleep. I have buried my talents and
my money is lazy. I'm going greek so give me the boys....

the poems in this first section, "condo," have prose fronts and smaller, italicized little structures, sort of like double haibuns. For example:

The hipsters are getting on my nerves.
tired of pretty. sparkle.
girls. signage is
glossier. things to tighten my skin. bicycle style.
city style. no chains needed. all those
engagements. summer parties.
appetizers. professionals for every need.

when I close my eyes I miss everything.

The last section, "freight" echoes Lisa Robertson's The Weather, but also Margaret Christakos Sooner, a recombinant wonder.

A mark A multiple of some unit So all works go in tones or
shades All balance is lost A mark of skin black in the centre circling
out in its disease A secret murder Has that been said before

A mark A formed handle without a guard Rare short and heavy
pointed We long to touch the hidden parts The foreshaft is the same
barbed Watch for the additional impulse

What do we want from our poems? So many seem to have such set ideas. But is it possible a poem might take you somehow you weren't expecting?

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