Sunday Canadian Poetry Round-up 4

by ConduitCanada

The Fourth Act

If there was a movie,
Half would be looking out the window.

She walked out a while back. Somehow
In these cracked places people are supposed to grow;
I’m all crawled in, undisturbed,
A simple hole (no such thing)-

Been without work
A few weeks, starting to feel this
Central Ontario pinch; no rich relatives,

No one to just give up and wait for,
So my world is
A tall can
Of mirrors.

A hard year. Had to watch
Her pull away, move into him. Okay.
I’ll take my eternity out on his,

I think, walking home just after New Year’s,
Waiting for a change,

A snowy note I find
On the sidewalk out front of the new place:

P.S. Your dog is gone –

I should call someone…


This week we have a contemporary poet & close friend of Conduit Canada round-up.

Justin Million is one of Canada’s most thoughtful emerging poets. He has published two chapbooks with Cameron Anstee’s Apt. 9 press. His first was a tribute, deconstruction and repatriation of the western-appropriated Persian Ghazal appropriately titled “Guzzles.”  “Guzzles” draws the reader into a deep cyclone of meaning and thought, a fine balance of darkness & light that would fascinate if not excite the western form’s master John Thompson. As a rule of form, ghazals are labyrinthine, intensely personal and impenetrable to casual academic assessments. As such, all we can say in this short space is that Justin truly internalized the genre. His interpretation of the form is one of the freshest and most accurate we’ve encountered.

When Justin sinks his teeth into something he sinks them deep.  His follow-up to “Guzzles” is a diverse, bewildering treatment of… well, the known Universe, one of his favourite topics.  It focuses on the Hadron Collider experiments at the Cern Facility and ends up being one of the densest collection of poems we here at Conduit have read. “Hadron” is an excellent poetic interrogation of humanity’s unquenchable, monomaniacal, perhaps catastrophic thirst for knowledge.  It’s effects are the same as a truly effective horror movie: narratively satisfying combined with a disturbing feeling of terrifying inevitability.

It’s difficult to pin down what exactly works so effectively in Justin’s writing because he has still only published very little in the grand scheme of things.  The strength of Justin’s writing is the ease with which his poems can flip from the intensely personal to the universal, the macro to the cosmic through the incredible control he demonstrates over his lyric line.