Bewitched by Broadbent

Writers Read and Concordia University welcome Lisa Robertson and Laura Broadbent tonight at 7pm, in the York Amphitheatre, EV 1.605, 1515 Rue St. Catherine

Readers first shook hands with Laura Broadbent through the pages of her remarkable, and strikingly titled book, Oh There You Are I Can’t See You Is It Raining? (Snare Books, 2012). Most notable are the sections entitled “Between A And B,” and “Men in Various States.” The former is a suite of poems that tangentially weaves lines of grit, glass, bodies, sex, and sky. Each poem presents as inky layers of interior perspectives bookended between A. and B., two physical, chronological, and metaphorical touchstones. The latter, another suite of poems, reads as the unspoken confessionals of various male voices — work that brims with an honesty of crude desire and psychological strife. There is a magic in Broadbent’s words and ‘terrestriality’ in her approach, if such a word can be coined, as if locating a ley line meant digging through not just bodies, but the hell of what people mean within and between, what makes a self. Broadbent might contest this interpretation through her invention of Jean Rhys’ voice in Interviews (Metatron 2014): “If I was bound for hell, / let it be hell. / No more false heavens. / No more damned magic.” But reading Broadbent’s work is tantamount to incantation because it summons something palpable, dark, and lurking. The trick of her magic is this: Her work digs deep until it connects to a Hell that was bound for us.

Broadbent’s voice most recently resonates with the publication of In on the Great Joke (Coach House Books, 2016).

Arrive early on campus to hear volunteers read the entirety of Lisa Robertson’s, Debbie: An Epic, throughout Concordia University’s LB building (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd W) from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

 

Poem from “Between A And B” in Oh There You Are I Can’t See You Is It Raining?:

A.

Even your family can betray you but when there is no you your
family can’t betray you. The place between A and B formally re-
quests you to drop the story. He is not better than you because there
is no you and you have not failed because there is no you. You
did not say the wrong thing because there is no you. There was no
humiliating sexual encounter because there is no you. You didn’t
detect bodily decay because there is no you. He cannot hurt you
because there is no you. You aren’t stuck in your first-world issues
because there is no you. Your task is to walk among the ten thou-
sand things – look at the sky and become it smell the morning
and become it feel the temperature and become it scatter with
the wind. Not a name reaches you in your bassinet of nothing-
ness strung between A and B.

B.

 – Johnathan F. Clark

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