glengarry notes: march break

mclennan crafts an arcing list-like poem of ruminations on returning to his parents’ home. This spare, open piece drifts across the rural land-scape–farmhouse to barn to neighbouring farmhouse–charting structural decay, as his family and hometown age around him, while marking his 35th birthday. All the gaps and spaces in this poem accent the feeling of dreamy drifting the brain can get up to in small, rural places, where “the sky is bigger / what a city wants.” That lack of direction works quite well in some moments, such as describing the aimlessness of browsing in country stores that never have anything you actually want to buy, but sometimes the loping stroll of this poem, with it’s occasional rhymes and random wordplay, diffuses it’s strength. Mid-poem, mclennan catches himself after describing a bush lot and sugar shack, capping that particular rotting, crumbling scene off with “this is a memory / this is a memory of something / that never happened.” That question of memory gets at the interesting bits of homecoming, and all the little fictions we invent about home. The ending stanza, gazing skyward, is a similar swing back into strength. Keep the pendulum-like track of this poem in mind, and you’ll be able to relish the heights of the arc. (Sarah Pinder)

litzine, rob mclennan, dusty owl press, PO Box 1041, Stn. B, Ottawa, ON, K1P 5R1, dustyowl.com, robmclennan.blogspot.com

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