rob mclennan




The consternation, of multiples. Every figure is unique,
and with uniqueness, gathers. It is 

your turn

to blink. A song of wetlands, shores; unravels. Where
are you going, and where 

have you been? It will take more
than an anecdote, a pebble, scored forth 

against a body, torn for clues.


Many years ago: we walked, simultaneously, through
the commercial fields 

of the world’s largest airports. Unaware, adrift, this
is the impossible detail 

of multiple languages               , of the entire text.


How present is this narrative? How worn?

is neither English. An unheard thing.

Then, from this material. To hear them speak it.

Remembering those weeks I nearly blind.

Remembering that time           I wrote a poem.




Surviving, cottage


The risk, at which we read                   the senses. Morning
fractals, summertime. Starry points. 

A literal translation: our wee monsters advance

the hose, the wading pool, the sprinkler. The temporal similarity

of bees. This gentle rustling
of maple; sparkled leaves, a reach of trees impossible 

to fathom.



The boundary of                      the sentence. Target birds,
an oriole or cackling jay. 

Incomplete: the framework                              of metaphor.

the poem can’t help but resemble, a consequence
of choice and form, to 

interrupt my patters, speech.


The page is white but               is not blank.



Four poems for Mouse Eggs


This hand-drawn air of musty typescript
on the actual page. Never trust a poem. 

Artie and his beautiful chemical:
the Gold standard 

of joyous, bittersweet. It is hard to live,
at times. Along Sainte-Catherine Street, 

what marginalia 

on the edge of the snow. I sometime think
I might chase 

nostalgia forever.


I’m afraid that I           don’t know. Dust,
the kind 

that suffocates.


This lightning of the possible: mimeo,
hand-stapled. A source 

of real words, craft 

and inarticulate softscape.
A roar, of eggs. How many must you 





Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with the two wee girls he shares with Christine McNair. The author of more than thirty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, the Council for the Arts in Ottawa Mid-Career Award in 2014, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012 and 2017. In March, 2016, he was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour. His most recent poetry titles include A halt, which is empty (Mansfield Press, 2019), Life sentence, (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019) and the book of smaller (University of Calgary Press, 2022). An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics and Touch the Donkey. He is editor of my (small press) writing day, and an editor/managing editor of many gendered mothers. In spring 2020, he won ‘best pandemic beard’ from Coach House Books via Twitter, of which he is extremely proud (and mentions constantly). 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