"Edson’s vivid portrayal of the urban area, as well as the working class and underclass, creates a vision of Saint John that highlights the discrepancy between the pre-modern idyllic notion of life in Atlantic Canada and the more complicated reality of the region."

-The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Art of Words: Ken Pobo’s Loplop in a Red City

Ken Pobo delights in his latest collection, Loplop in a Red City. Like a carefully guided tour through an art gallery, Pobo takes us from room to room, and each with a different view. His work continues to use language to its full potential. His simplicity, his directness to the words are what I enjoy most about his work. There’s no ego here; it’s laid bare, without any ribbons or bows, and in that simplicity, somehow more complex than most.

…My aunt Cass

looked dour too,

died a millionaire,

not in money, but in her thimble


Pobo’s reflections on life and death, told through the minds of various artists, is built too with a subtle hand. From Van Gogh in the Hague to his death in Auvers, Pobo weaves a visual experience for the reader:

Crows took his body up to Heaven—

a small room,

an easel, good bread on the table,

wine. A small flock got him there.

Loplop in a Red City is a much different collection than the one I previously reviewed here, Booking Rooms in the Kuiper Belt; it’s not as rhythmically rendered; the language is more direct, but this is to be expected; here is art in words, where the previous collection brought us, quite literally, on a whimsical tour of the celestial flow of the universe. But it’s equal in execution, and Pobo’s talents for finding the right words, his precision as an artist, sing from the canvas in this collection.    


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