Xeclogue and

THE WEATHER

Lisa Robertson, Author . New Star $12 (78p) ISBN 978-0-921586-81-4

"I'll finger/ sincerity, by exemplum relate/ a portrait of my luck." The fourth book from the Vancouver-based Robertson (following Xeclogue and Debbie: An Epic) is another book-length poem and another stunning and severely rich repatterning of the mind's generally uncharted terrain. Sectioning the poem under headings spanning each day of the week, Robertson combines extended prose poems with shorter lyrics to embark on "intense yet eccentric research in the rhetorical structure of English meteorological description"—hence the title. Despite Robertson's mannered description of her project, The Weather is a nervy, rhythmic creation of a poetic environment. Using a shifting litany structure throughout each prose piece, Robertson is able to isolate and change conceptually driven thought to unfiltered registering of consciousness with breathtaking quickness: "Say cup of your heart rush/ sluice is yellow sluice Kate Moss is Rousseau/ have my arms. Say impasto of/ atmosphere for her fur. Halo open." Robertson references a number of radical feminist figures and thinkers (Mary Wollstonecraft, Shulamith Firestone, Violette Leduc) in the "Tuesday" section of the poem, and as the week moves on her rhetorically based surfaces are continually ruptured by an unrestrained, musically conducted mode of transformation: "Pattern undercuts the slamming heat; we speak into the dark and make corrections: Shadow for Hour. Tantrum for Lyre. Lure for Light. Rapture for Kaput." When Roberston writes "I am always wrong/ to anticipate the intelligible," the slyly humor-based sharpness of her poetic sensibility is wide open. (July)

Forecast:Robertson is a member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, which includes Jeff Derksen, Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, Peter Culley and Dan Farrell. This book from British Columbia's New Star, similar in orientation to New York's Seven Stories press, will be well reviewed within the North American small press community, where Debbie continues to be a steady seller.

Reviewed on: 06/18/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
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