Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Polymers - Adam Dickinson

Today's book of poems - The Polymers.  Adam Dickinson.  House of Anansi Press.  Toronto.  2013.

As a reader you are going to need a dictionary and an open mind.  Dickinson throws out ideas faster than they can be caught with one reading.

Christopher Dewdney meets Stuart Ross meets Quentin Tarantino, together they make plastic sheets for poetry, posters and posterity.  Here the scientifically expert voice of a Christopher Dewdney  meets the incomprehensible leaps of logic that only Stuart Ross previously managed, this all funnelled through a rapid fire Quentin Tarantino sensibility.  This is an author who knows popular culture and modern thinking well enough to dance it around the page and put it inside a chemical formulation.  A lot to digest, I know.  But you should see these poems.

These are not poems I would normally be drawn to.  In many ways my poetic tastes are old school and conservative.  Adam Dickinson is certainly neither but these poems are interesting from the first plastic page.  I've rarely read poetry where I felt I was learning as much - yet been unsure exactly what it was that I was learning.

These advanced chemistry lessons disguised as poems, or poems masquerading as chemistry equations are like no science class or poetry reading you've been to.  It's very rare and it is always exciting to read something that is completely new.  Equally rare is the feat of making complicated interesting.  Dickinson, surely clad in a compromised lab coat, gives the reader all of it.  Pretty sure that if Dickinson choose not to take a breath he could explain the history of the world to us in one long poetic equation all tied together with plastic.

You just know when you come up against someone who understands the world so much better than you do.  If they do it right, and Dickinson does, you are riveted to every crazy word.

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