Tuesday, May 06, 2008

#31 - Airstream Land Yacht


I am counting Ken Babstock's Airstream Land Yacht as Newfoundland for The Canadian Book Challenge. I'm quite sure that's where he's originally from (if I remember correctly) and it's one of the titles John had listed in his own challenge suggestions. The poems, though, are so much more universal and can't really be defined by geography in the same way a novel can. They take inspiration from philosophy, from art, from literature, from other poets, from everyday life, from the stars, from the sea, from a whole host of interesting things that I will not be able to mention here, many I probably didn't even get.

Separated into four distinct parts (Air, Stream, Land and Yacht), the book's poems are deeply intriguing. It's been years since I've thought critically about poetry but even so that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book. Perhaps in all the time since my Masters degree I've come to appreciate poetry a little for the pure beauty of how the words play together on the page. I'm also a little in love with the author's impressive use of contractions, of apostrophe "d's" and other whimsical ways of pushing the language to new heights.

If I had to pick just one favourite poem, it would be "Marram Grass" from the first section. A underlying sweetness pulls the piece along and it has stuck with me in the 10 days it's taken to read the collection. I tried to stop my habits of speeding through sentences and forcing my eyes to take the corners fast so I could enjoy each one in the way it should be read. Thoughtfully. Carefully. Over sustained periods of time left to look up and imagine what the poet's saying or how marvelous he is with vocabulary and language.

Highly recommended.

PHOTO IN CONTEXT: The cover from Anansi.ca.

READING CHALLENGES: This makes #9 for my Canadian Book Challenge. In terms of provinces, I've got: Manitoba, Nunavut, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick left.

WHAT'S UP NEXT: I'm already halfway through The Woman Who Waited. I should be done by tomorrow, it's a swift read.

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