cover image Transmitter and Receiver

Transmitter and Receiver

Raoul Fernandes. Nightwood (Partners Publishing Group, U.S. dist.; Harbour, Canadian dist.), $18.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0889713093

In Fernandes's impressive debut poetry collection, connection is the key to decoding the signals being broadcast%E2%80%94more specifically, both connection and failure to connect. Fernandes's work is most keenly felt in the silences, in pauses and wordless understandings crossing gaps and intangible barriers. There is a depth of feeling, well mined in Fernandes's deceptively effortless portrayals of home, work, and family, and also in quiet interstices that draw readers in until they can hear the ghosts of signals whispering across the page in pieces such as "White Noise Generator," "Driftwood," "After Hours at the Centre for Dialogue," and "Passing in the Hallway." They can be felt, too, in Fernandes's explorations of unusual voice and form in "Worn Book," "Automatic Teller," "One Early Morning%E2%80%A6," "(Loop)," and "Attachments," among others. Whatever form his work takes, there is always the sense that Fernandes is writing to someone. Those connections, sometimes made explicit with dedications, give readers a chance to overhear intimacies shared by a deft hand. In these poems, Fernandes is broadcasting for himself, and his family, and for readers, and there is exquisite beauty in the signal. It is a message not to be missed. (July)