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rob mclennan :: from the book of smaller

My family’s all in bed

Translating: five full years. Perhaps we may wake, we may sleep; invent a new set of words. I can remember this life; a deep breath. A notebook, misplaced. Scratch a line down. Wonder: how can one describe, the making of art? Tell me what you need. Engage newspaper, coffee, the kettle. The eastern face, shines. House: a stitch of black cloth. The impossibility of experiment. Troubleshoot. Based on a true story, incorrectly transcribed. Five minutes of silence.

Jennifer Kronovet, translated

Each language we wish to release. I drag the letter. Counted. Syntax is important. Not all sentences can be evaluated. Everything depends upon. Autumn in New York; springtime in Berlin. It does not equal. They say beauty contains the root of space. Can you hear me, now? The Chinese chamber, echoes. Leaving voice to silence. Made of words, this passage. Puncture. Soars across great distances. I call you. Leap. A single, bound.

Twenty-first century literature

Today, I am not writing. A book opens, is closed. Unwinds. I should read more. Old habits won’t save us. We have to build new ones. Orpheus, turns toward Lot. They turn on each other. All my ideas, outdated. We can make space. Such motivating force. If there is a sky I can’t place it.

The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, rob mclennan’s most recent titles include the poetry collection A perimeter (New Star Books, 2016) and the chapbooks Cervantes’ bones (words(on)pages, 2017), Household items (Apostrophe Press, 2017) and It’s still winter (above/ground press, 2017). This fall, he has two further chapbooks forthcoming— Imaginary stories (fiction, DevilHousePress) and Sex at Forty-Five (poetry, The Blasted Tree)—with two other full-length poetry titles forthcoming as well: Life Sentence (Flat Singles Press, 2018) and Household items (Salmon Poetry, 2018). 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

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issue three :: January/February 2018