TH Influenza UV Logik

by Bill Bissett,
ISBN: 0889223572

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Brief Reviews
by Judith Fitzgerald

A low-key kind of guy, Gerry Gilbert's linguistic dexterity sets him apart from most practitioners of poetry in this country. An astute eye for detail, an unwavering ear for inflection, and an unerring sense of the ridiculously sublime energize his utterances and elevate his polished musings to heights few imagine (or achieve).

Year of the Rush (Underwhich Editions, 72 pages, $13 paper) cuts to the core and serves up a veritable feast of memorable offerings. The follow-up to For Sure, it contains several monologues, narratives, prose poems, mini-essays, and anti-lyrics artfully arranged within its "Prologue"/"Epilogue" structure. Here, chaos and confusion always yield to coherence, illumination, and celebration.

Occasionally, Gilbert, the exemplary circuitous trickster, strays a little; however, Gilbert, the brilliant thinker and ruthless editor, lovingly nips and tucks wayward peccadilloes in the pod.

In "Subtitles," for example, the poet practises warm-up/wake-up exercises with "coffee / helps // losing my hat at scott's / helps // liking the idea / helps." before hitting his stride (in preparation for crossing the finishing line):

. 25 years i've known claude

a generation of vancouver poetry depended upon his reading of it

i remember the day he announced to me he had finished with reading vancouver poetry

we were standing inside the parlour door

he had a book of vancouver poetry in his hand

bombs were falling on cambodia

the ndp was in disarray

there was no flip next thing to say.

Immediately, Gilbert antes up for the new millennium:

we reached for our tools


and started again

only this time without the illusion that the artists of


or of bc or of canada or of the west

of the north

would rise in concert

join in the eternity of the indigenous peoples & decentralize perception

instead of grabbing it as close to our eyes as possible .

Mr. Gilbert's narrator expresses the highs and woes of the obsolete Anybody with an admirable mixture of despair, deference, and defiance.

Not your average information-processing writer, his work repays re-reading and reveals an almost obsessive attention to locating le mot juste despite a world his narrator considers barbarous beyond belief.

Judith Fitzgerald


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