Monday, June 10, 2013

rob mclennan's The underside of the line, (2011) is reviewed online at The League of Canadian Poets' review site

Ottawa poet and editor Susan McMaster reviews The underside of the line, (2011), over at the new reviews site as part of The League of Canadian Poets website. See the original review here. There was even a previous review of the same chapbook, by Megan Burns in Rain Taxi, here.
rob mclennan, The underside of the line, (above/ground press, 2011)

reviewed by Susan McMaster

One of a series from rob mclennan’s above/ground press, this chapbook opens with a quote from Cara Benson that start, “the story goes like this: I made a poem….”We can count on rob mclennan to read and mine texts from many sources as guideposts to his own explorations — and clues for us. underside features three poems punctuated only by section numbers and commas, on his father”‘s cancer:

    have tried to understand death

    a step

    dying isn’t

on a 41st birthday:

What stays a marvel

and for the birthday of “C”:

    lived, a day


    wet pools of paper

    soft vehicles of travel,

The comma, that appears sometimes in odd places such as at the beginning of a line, acts as a soft exhale, a lyrical pause and gesture forward.

I like these poems. mclennan’s language is assonant, rhythmic, full of unexpected word conjunctions that carry readers around the idea of an emotion without forcing it on us. Although sometimes his allusions are too obscure, too self-referential — my mind drifts — when rob steps closer, he writes very well.

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