Poetry. Astonishingly deft poems that highlight an excess, an emptiness, and a wilderness on the other side of use. In UNIDENTIFIED POETIC OBJECT, his twelfth collection of poetry, Brian Henderson strikes from language an "alphabet of lightning," an animacy and urgency in which every object is potent with actions, past and present; every action is alive with the potential of what it might move in the world. And since every object is more than we know in our eagerness to turn it to human use, Henderson wants us to dive into that unknown space.The world is composed of astonishing things, but we are obsessed by their use, their categorization, their systemization, their exploitation—a way of being in which every thing, every body, even the future, can be made available as raw resource. The words in these poems are perturbations or seductions rather than representational resources, are equivocal rather than instrumental; they seek to disrupt the order of the discursive, to trouble the elaborate plans humans have for managing and controlling the earth we abuse. Here words open to produce surprising ephemeral hybridities, things without theory or history or a notion of progress. They elide and interpenetrate, shout and are silent, and in those material interactions there emerges a resonant attention and a politic of tenderness.
Kerry Clare @ 49TH Shelf
Brian Henderson is the author of ten collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Nerve Language (Pedlar Press, 2007), was a finalist for the Governor General's Award. He holds a PhD in Canadian Literature, has worked in many facets of Canadian publishing, and is currently the director of Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Author City: Kitchener , ON CAN