Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A review of rob mclennan’s The underside of the line, by Megan Burns (Rain Taxi Review)

Poet Megan Burns wrote a lovely and positive review of my chapbook, The underside of the line, (above/ground press, 2011) as part of her “chapbook corner” in Rain Taxi, alongside reviews of Travis Cebula’s Jamaica (bedoin books) and Bhanu Kapil’s (a poem-essay, or precursor: NOTES: for a novel: Ban en Banlieues) (Belladonna #127). I did a review or two for Rain Taxi moons ago, but haven’t managed to write a second, but for them publishing my essay on Don Quixote. Unfortunately, the magazine somehow missed the misspelled Ottawa, and Megan Burns (who is also hosting a reading by myself and Stephen Brockwell in March, down there in New Orleans) somehow calls above/ground press “coedited” by me, misunderstanding that above/ground press is a solo show, and has never been co-edited by anyone (I suspect she mistook for Chaudiere Books, which still, is co-run with Jennifer Mulligan, and still singularly edited by myself). But enough nit-picking: this is a lovely, positive and attentive review, Megan Burns, and I thank you for it!

Here is a fragment of said review (the whole review is available in the print edition of their new issue), posted with permission:

mclennan’s lines are short and rhythmically sudden; the sounds of these lines, even in the midst of a prose poem, cause the reader to paint the picture from a flurry of images. […] The tableau would seem surrealistic, but mclennan’s images are grounded in the everyday; the poems function as collages where disparate but familiar tropes are given back to us for subjective sorting. Furthermore, mclennan’s lines are satisfying because he plays on the musicality of hard syllables and recurring assonance as well as the surprise of what will turn up next. […] In the same way that a song uses rhythm to bridge sense with emotion, mclennan winds his images in rhythms that allow one to suspend disbelief for the greater return of amusement.

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