Last night at Mother Tongue Books. I enjoyed it, but as always as much as I adore MTB, it's a terrible place for a reading. Doors are supposed to open at 7 pm, but arriving at 7 means sitting in the back on stools. It's hot and it's hard to hear. Every year I make the mistake of taking "doors open at 7 pm" literally.
I'm very familiar with the works of three out of the four shortlisted, and I wish all four writers the best, but I find it odd and objectionable that rob mclennan is not on the list. In 2004, rob had two books published: stone, book one (Palimpseet Press) and what's left (Talon Books). I have to admit to being a fan of rob's work, so perhaps I'm biassed, but to me, the poems in these two collections are strong, skilfully written and memorable. As was Paper Hotel which came out a few years ago.I realize there are many talented writers in Ottawa, but I have to wonder why someone who writes poems as moving, as minimal as this one from stone, book one wouldn't be on the short list(and forgive my lack of proper formatting, buy the book):
the only serious border
taken down a path. the storys here, if you can tell.
its not how you leave life, but how
you live, the sunlight streaming in, despite the show
of clouds, she said yes. in the dried out plains.
a treeline has its shape of stones. of open gaps. a
space in the fence to squeeze through. for those
who want a shortcut from the road.