Sunday 16 March 2014

Cindy Chen on Tourbin’s Posthumous Tribute - The Stream and other poems

Review: Dennis Tourbin’s The Stream and other poems - a posthumous tribute - above / ground press, $4 

By Cindy Chen

a celebration of an artist’s life in eternal motion

The three poems included in the book, “The Stream,” “Morning in Paris,” and “In Her Apartment in Paris,” are published in reverse order of their original dates of composition. Together, they seek to analyze the realities of mortality and dread in an inherently beautiful world. Tourbin’s speaker achieves awareness without abandoning hope, employing imageries in these three poems that capture both darkness and light within our natural (dis)order. Perhaps due to the fact that the last piece, “In Her Apartment in Paris,” is also the earliest one in this collection, the chapbook does conclude with an undertone of hopeful innocence.

In terms of stylistics, Tourbin’s language leans towards the purposeful mundane. There is a languidness that blankets descriptions of both everyday routine as well as a horrifying terrorist threat. However, his matter-of-fact tone only enhances his speaker’s anguish during the overarching psychological journey of looking inward in order to see outward.

Tourbin’s writing is languid, but it is not still. Every stanza, in some instances, every line presents a new picture, a new motion, all strung together like the individual frames of a movie. There is an undeniable filmic quality to Tourbin’s language, and his poems are all, ever-moving in our minds’ eyes. 

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.