last week i walked into the ottawa public library main branch and discovered that library staff had set up a shelf for npm. hurray! there are angels in that library.
from this shelf of local poetry on the main floor, i picked up one of rob mclennan’s poetry collections that i don’t own...The Richard Brautigan Ahhhhhhhhhh (not sure how many times the letter h appears ;) (Talonbooks, 1999).
i really enjoyed it. one of the reasons why was its feeling of one moment in time, its references to Somerset Street and surrounding area. for his poetic career so far, rob has really been a chronicler of his neighbourhood, his city and his time. this book too is one of the early intense books of rob’s. the poems tend to be very well-paced and compelling. i felt like i was reading something by a young man who didn’t know how much time he had left to live, to enjoy his youth.
i read the book while sitting on the patio of the Royal Oak II just before the lunch rush arrived, early last week.
to mark the end of national poetry month, i recommend you visit or revist the earlier collections of some of Ottawa’s poets. go back to Ronnie R. Brown’s first collection for instance: Re Creation. (Balmuir Books, 1987) or Stephen Brockwell’s The Wire in Fences (Balmuir Books, 1988), or an early work of Monty Reid’s or Colin Morton’s. It’s fascinating to trace the changes and the commonalities of a writer’s work.
it’s funny to me to see that a month celebrating poetry is ending. most of us here in this literary “blogosphere” (a new word i learned this month), celebrate poetry, creativity and art all the time. so don’t stop celebrating the stuff that inspires you, that makes life more beautiful or provocative to you.
i am looking forward to may, which is another exciting month for literature in ottawa, particularly due to the canadian literature symposium taking place at the University of Ottawa from May 9-11: re: reading the postmodern, and the public readings both from the A B series and from the conference itself, featuring Monty Reid, Sandra Ridley, Roland Prevost, Chris Turnbull, Nicholas Lea, rob mclennan, Shane Rhodes, Marcus McCann, John Lavery, Gregory Betts, Fred Wah and Kim Echlin, Robert Kroetsch, Frank Davey, Christian Bök, Dennis Cooley, Christine Stewart, Stephen Cain, Gregory Betts, Louis Cabri, Andy Weaver, and The Max Middle Sound Project...go to http://www.bywords.ca/ and click on events for all the time, place, date details.
the celebration continues (although i might not blog as often!).
thanks for your attention, inspiration and friendship this month.