From The Book of Smaller by rob mclennan

 Postcard to Gil McElroy

A sketch. An apparatus of mish-mash. Salutations. Systematic checks. My legs were cold. Mezzanine. My other body. Years apart. Geometries of expanding light. Myopic. A conceptual poesis. A game of unfinished phrases. Comma, comma, dash. A flourish. Is this? Only poets still write letters. If this should be hand-delivered. By you, to you. Posted. But the stars, themselves.


Sentences my mother used

What should we have for dinner? What do you want for your birthday? What is your sister doing? Can you get me my pills? Is there anyone in the bathroom? Can you come in here? Whose truck is that? Where is your father? Can you take that out of the oven? Is the cat inside or out? Does the dog have food? Can you get this down for me? What are you doing in there. Get out of there.


The untranslatable

Elisabeth de Mariaffi tweets that autocorrect turns “soufflé” into “scuffle.” A bad sign. Posterior, anterior. Do not mistake. Everything is subject to gravity. Watermark. The sound of any specific colour. Muscle, bone, intention, poem. What could or could not shatter. Formula, constraint. The talk of “one more thing.” Adaptability. Waterlogged. The permission to emerge.


Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. His most recent titles include The Uncertainty Principle: stories, (Chaudiere Books, 2014) and the poetry collection A perimeter (New Star Books, 2016). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books (with Christine McNair), The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics (, Touch the Donkey ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( He is “Interviews Editor” at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, a regular contributor to both the Drunken Boat and Ploughshares blogs, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. He spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at

1 Comment on From The Book of Smaller by rob mclennan

  1. very fine writing by rob


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