Expressway

book review:

Expressway

This whole text is an extended meditation on transportation and modernity. It’s not a quick, flippant read, though it’s a slim vol­ume–there’s a lot to chew on, requiring multiple readings to savour what Queyras is doing here. “Crash,” a found poem seem­ingly constructed of first lines retrieved in a search engine, alternately packs itself into a page and breaks into a spaced and distanced string of images, like cars curling along the superhighway at high speed. “Progress” is another carefully crafted list-like poem, with lines delicately spliced, posed and juxtaposed to leave the reader chilled. It reads like a long form math equation for the present, where “In A, everyone always says yes even if they have no intention. / In A, they don’t need intention, or action, they need only to say yes.”

The works in Expressway are all so tightly wound, hyper-distilled and stressed, ach­ing. I feel like Queyras is speaking directly to my affliction and predilection for talk of modern narratives and the end times. This is poetry for the apocalypse we’re in, calling us to “Go forth and undo harm. / Go forth and do.” (Sarah Pinder)

by Sina Queyras, $16.95, 90pgs. Coach House Books, 401 Huron St on bpNichol Lane, Toronto, ON, M5S 2G5, chbooks.com

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