Thursday, 13 March 2014

"A Range of Dates" Jack Goodall on rob mclennan

Review of rob mclennan's from Hark: a journal /$4

By Jack Goodall

A quote from "Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France" 

     Name of a city, date between 1124 and 1955. Impressions of the place. Transport. Objects. Writing. Science and thought process. Light. Ontology. Wordplay.

A poem from the chapbook

   "Saint-Adèle, 1914"

    Calamitous, a ski resort. Chalet Cochard. In the beginning, I don't know. 
    Stakes deployed to language. I can't tell you now who said what. What 
    particular abyss. The hot tub, decommissioned. Stripped of fiction, sheets. 
    A hotel, and its ambiguous relationship with desire. A cottage, blends. 
    Municipal. Is taxing, taxes. Parkland sky. Demands the right of secession. 
    In writing, must locate yourself in writing.

A review

mclennan's poetry is imaginatively presented in the form of journal entries in response to postcards from his now-wife, poet Christine McNair. The entries take on a new & greater meaning with this courtship in mind. It's all very brief and personal and at times impenetrable, drawing on references ecclesiastical (St. Augustine's in Ramsgate) and musical (John Cale, Paris 1919).

Perhaps feeling duty bound by his roles as head of above/ground press and occasional writer in-residence, mclennan goes into great detail explaining 'from Hark...' This does indeed contribute to the book's romanticism and explains its odd mix of self-consciousness and intimacy.

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