rob mclennan

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan currently lives in Ottawa. The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, he won the John Newlove Poetry Award in 2010, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2012. His most recent titles are the poetry collections Songs for little sleep, (Obvious Epiphanies, 2012) and grief notes: (BlazeVOX [books], 2012), and a second novel, missing persons (2009). The Uncertainty Principle: stories, is scheduled to appear in spring 2014. An editor and publisher, he runs above/ground press, Chaudiere Books, The Garneau Review (, seventeen seconds: a journal of poetry and poetics ( and the Ottawa poetry pdf annual ottawater ( 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

Notes, on the subject of marriage:

  You alone, Love, can walk across the heather, letting foliage fall behind your shoulder. 
  Losing you, I lose myself, but losing myself I find you.
             Jean Grosjean, trans. Keith Waldrop, 
             An Earth of Time

A modest proposal,

Unexpect, a lake. A rise in the earth. Soft and sweet and mute as a cork. This all may be a construct, still. I can’t speak for. Reinventions of solitude.

Parade the days. With surroundings so familiar. Ask again, to wash the kitchen floor.

Draped in reeds, and curtain. The morning after, dusk. What is this, is new. Between leaves in a heavy book. So further from the question. Remote, in fact. Remove.

As Michelle Taransky wrote, a room of only capital letters

He only told the wood pile and the vole,

Are, indeed, an inky mile. Measure, would you. Exact notes, mine your mountain-throat.

A hand-me-diamond-down. Grandmother, now, eleven years. My mother, only one.

The Perth woods were a sentence, drawn. Diamond in the diamond-rough. We make, to the canal.

Sun stands still a shell. Absolute. Give me nothing, lest. Window, to the barn.

Constellations, space

We mention, in this beautiful. The result of thunderstorms, stand back on the deck.

Snow flurries, fly. The squirrels, intend. I am the airship, lateral. Begun in cloud.

Lea Graham writes, the writing of days is a sugary growl.

A hand, invent, in sleep. Are still involved. Confabulate.


Dreams I’m dying. Bloodless. Haven’t yet a lawn to occupy.

Flowers, gifting backstep. Deliveries. To recapture, same.

We together mark out notes. To sing.

They swam in moonlight,

These constant, language carves. I dream of summer, distant-green. here, the sun cools. Porcelain. Up, Ottawa Valley.

Phil Hall suggests, a frozen glow. Silence, is its only form.

The unexpected path. We sequence. Perfection, thus. Third-hand, paramours. Unsettled, through the sky. Moment, fetish, this one. Small. Enjoy.

There is no single moment.

Vowel frequencies,

Mark, a station. Gesture, glassed. We cite confession. What do you know of me?

One is relieved, sometimes. Existing. What do we require. Censure, dearest circumstance.

Amy Dennis says, finally. Adrift, in soul-mate. Windstorm carries, off a weight. An apparition.

Loneliness, a scrapture. Megan Levad writes, it’s not true anymore.