Nyla Matuk is the author of the chapbook, Oneiric, published in 2009. Her poems have appeared recently in Maisonneuve, The Walrus, Canadian Notes and Queries, ARC Poetry, the Literary Review of Canada, and elsewhere. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Sumptuary Laws, was published in Fall 2012 with Signal Editions / Véhicule Press.
It was August 80 or 81 at the CNE.
A rooster-vigilante in a red golf t-shirt at the ticket gate
with a walkie-talkie, keeping tabs on the wide
(the middle-aged Etobicokans) and the
thin (tight-jeaned, eyelined girls),
had decided Dire Straits needed his help.
I’d bluffed myself up as a blind man:
white cane radar, the feeler way out ahead of me
like a grasshopper on hormones, while my left arm ran interference
with the camera’s bulk under my coat.
A trench was too obvious, so I went under the cover
of an over-large leather jacket, the kind you’ll see at
Holiday Inn conventions paired with loafers and tube socks.
I managed to get down into the pit well before the first lick.
Then with a black-out on stage, and a green and red armored camphor blast,
Knopfler belted those Northern English lines like a mannish Sting...
I’m tapped at from behind, thinking my cane’s been lost, but it was
the rooster again—this time with a mullet sprouting a detective's
alarm-hackle congealed with gel, dully amber
in the floodlights. Lights switched to red.
So, I'd like to start with a comment made near the end of your Late Nights with Wild Cowboys, in the poem "Jawbone." You express real fear and anxiety over the prospect of having your life and love be objectified, turned into summary, a bowdlerized rendering that "[leaves] nearly everything out." More than that, though, you are worried about how we ourselves are complicit in this sort of exclusionary act. I guess what I'd like to ask first, then, is: do you imagine poetry as a means of letting things in rather than keeping everything out? And what are you aiming to let in, exactly?
I really do think of poetry in that way, in terms of providing a space -- an opening -- in which it might be possible to say the things that are hard, and perhaps impossible, to say otherwise; in which to express that inarticulate feeling that you get sometimes...continue reading
Steve McOrmond's new collection of poems begins with a caution. In the style of TV content warnings, "Advisory" lists potential disturbing content to come: "themes which could threaten the viewer's sense of security," "Evidence of fatalism and irreligion," and the typical forewarnings about sexuality, violence and "language." Here McOrmond displays the dual cautionary and playful perspectives that interact throughout the book, switching from warnings about a drowning and an animal attack to the line, "The following program may contain scenes not suitable for language."
The poem raises the expected questions about what we censor and screen in popular media. What is considered objectionable, and why? Placed at the start of a collection whose title references Armageddon, "Advisory" leads the reader to expect a certain discomfort.
With that warning, the book moves to the title...continue reading