Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I like to browse literary mags on the rack, but I rarely find anything in them compelling enough to make me want to buy them. But today, I purchased a copy of Dandelion 32:2. There's an excellent interview of Carmine Starnino in it, conducted by Diane Guichon, a recent graduate of U of Calgary's writing programme, in which between them they straighten out some of the misconceptions and mischaracterisations surrounding Carmine's poetry criticism. It's an encouraging sign to see this interview, followed by two new poems of Carmine's (both good, one excellent, in my opinion), in a mag like Dandelion, because it's not where one expects to see him pop up. A sign that there's some real dialogue happening, not just trench fortification and mudslinging.

Also in this issue are five poems by the inimitable Gabe Foreman. I met Gabe when I read in his hometown of Peterborough, ON last year and saw him read this past fall in Fredericton, NB at the annual UNB Poetry Weekend. In his quiet fashion, he is an hilariously funny guy, both in person and in print. He wasn't on the bill originally, but showed up for the weekend with his friend and mine, Jeramy Dodds (another talented writer). In the usual informal Poetry Weekend way, Ross Leckie added him to one of the reading sets. He stole the show with his off-kilter blend of humour and pathos. Richard Lemm probably said it best, something like, "he's doing what a hundred Language poets think they're doing." I passed this on to the Gabester, whose response was, "What's a Language poet?"

Update, March 5: I just found an audio recording of Gabe reading some of his poems at the Banff Centre.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I just wanted to second your take on Gabe's reading in Fredericton. Really excellent stuff. His poems seem to trod along wherever they please, slipping off here and there into topical and linguistic loop holes, only to come back to find themselves still in line their own peculiar logic. Original premises are one thing, it's quite another to develop and sustain them in intelligent and unpredictable ways. Here's hoping we won't have to wait much longer for a first book.