“does any traveller risk
becoming foreign to those
in his own lands?
rob mclennan (yes, the not-capitalization is intentional) was a writer in residence at the University of Alberta from 2007-2008. Originally from Ottawa, this book of poetry reflects his time in Edmonton. He doesn’t use capitalization at all, like ee cummings, and his poems have a sparse, modernist feel to them.
You can get a picture of Edmonton from the perspective of an outside from this work, but the writing and poetry was so sparse I had a hard time connecting to it. I have a hard time with poetry, and understanding it, and usually limit myself to a few select poets. This Bookstravaganza, I decided to challenge myself by gathering up every unread book of poetry I had and forcing myself to read and attempt to understand it.
There weren’t a lot of lines that really grabbed or struck me, although the last section, “a map of edmonton”, was interesting conceptually. He even wrote a poem about West Edmonton Mall, probably my favourite in the book as it captured its essence so well (I also hate malls more than ever at this time of year). Here it is:
poem for west edmonton mall
four phases; play, shop, stay, plan
the premiere piece of thus; a fishers ice
caught between its currency; of boundaries
located in edmonton, w/these additions,
facts & statistics
a roller coaster overload come mirror lights
& whistle flash
a colour coded establishment; bodies drop
the replicated soul; santa maria
raising top from plastic; wooden birth
or façade down the boulevard
bombay sapphire gin, the taste
what you cant together reach
a slip of bill
Books read: 13