Fortified Castles (2014)
Starting with the lyric statement, Fortified Castles asks what might cause a retreat into the comforting walls of the self. North American culture is saturated with discourses of self-improvement and self-awareness at the same time it is full of anxiety over the things that separate us. Moving from a stock-ticker tableau of economic and environmental crisis to the difficulty of finding one another in the streets, the poems in Fortified Castles stage impasse after impasse, locating the Western subject between the ramparts it walks and the barricades it throws up.
Composed in three sections, Fortified Castles constructs a complex web of interpersonal disconnection from the anonymous detritus of our self-obsessed neoliberal moment. Written contemporaneously with the 2008 economic crisis, the first section, “21st Century Monsters,” imagines a number of world-ending scenarios from the collapse of the environment to the collapse of capitalism to the collapse of culture, forming a questioning and questionable primer on the things that terrify us. The second section, “Fortified Castles,” heavily recombines found material in a lengthy serial collage composed of multiplied and impersonal personal statements that add up in unanticipated ways, cascading in knee-jerk patterns of anxious hand-wringing and stubborn unreasonableness.
Written during the 2011 Occupy protests, the final section, “Friendship Is Magic,” positions the hopeful connections of that moment beside the privilege rippling through it, interrogating the very real tension between working collectively and living comfortably.
Fake Math (2007)
“Moments are the elements of profit.” – Karl Marx, Capital Vol. 1
Composed primarily through the co-optation and recombination of internet search results, FAKE MATH is a poetic intervention into the ways the motive for profit structures our lives. Each poem exposes the fallacies, fake logics, and sheer idiocies that constrict our decision-making processes in terms of our art, industry, educational system, and our day-to-day lives, while questioning our tendency to resort to institutionalized social violence. FAKE MATH draws its inspiration from diverse sources from Marx to Freud, from Archimedes to Oprah, sending them all downstream on rapidly pulsating waves of schizophrenic glee and political gravity, often creating startling juxtapositions when mismatched ideas and images are torn from their original contexts. The effects are at once humorous and stomach-churning. Ultimately, these are poems about how we live, work, and play within larger structures of capitalism and how our attempts to move past these structures are largely failed attempts at rebellion, not real attempts at revolution or, better yet, escape.
Dang Me (2020)
The poems in Dang Me sink into the uncomfortable fact of structural privilege. They fret at the strange, ironic grace of Roger Miller’s joking insistence that since his pappy was a pistol, he must be a son-of-a-gun. Dang Me recognizes violent cycles, only to fall apart against the inertial wall of masculinity and ask, if everyone wants to forget and no one wants to man the guillotine, is it possible to self-abolish?
Working at the intersection of coterie and critique, the poems in dealingwithit.gif interrogate the weird feelings that bubble up as friendships shift in the streets and on social media. Caught up in the dialectic of dealing with the shit others pile on you and expecting others to deal with your shit, these poems navigate the sticky relations at the heart of living together.
21st Century Monsters (2012)
A poetic mashup of tweenage hollywood and heteronormative economics, 21st Century Monsters imagines a number of world-ending scenarios, from the collapse of the environment to the collapse of capitalism to the collapse of culture. Presenting a stock-ticker tableau of immanent disaster, these poems witness our own wide-eyed shock turned into reactionary fantasy while at the same time they plumb the sites of our fear, looking to form a primer on the things that terrify us, only to wonder what it is we’re so afraid of. (Shortlisted for the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award)
I have published a number of other chapbooks, primarily in Calgary in small print runs. All of these are out of print, but I have included pdfs of several of them below. Most of them are snapshots of work in progress. Some of them have been revised for inclusion in other books.
Self-published. This trio of chapbooks sharing preliminary work for what would become Fortified Castles.
Bad Shit! (2007)
Published by Kevin McPherson Eckhoff. This chapbook collects a number of terrible (but weirdly fascinating) poems that got cut from Fake Math.
Lord, I’m Set To Cry (2007)
Published by derek beaulieu. This chapbook collects a suite of prose poems meant for an abandoned project titled Ghost Prison.
Of Quixote’s Lap (2006)
Published by Jonathan Ball. This chapbook collects an unattached serial poem.
Hounds Of Love / Loss Leaders (2006)
Published by derek beaulieu. This chapbook collects a pair of one-off notebook experiments.
Published by rob mclennan. This chapbook collects early material from what would become Fake Math.
Social Commodities (2005)
Published by derek beaulieu. This chapbook collects an earlier version of the poem from Fake Math, originally written for a collaborative performance with Natalie Simpson, Christopher Blais, and Carmen Derksen for the 2004 Calgary Spoken Word Festival.
A Long Detonation (2004)
Self-published. This chapbook collects a sequence of poems meant for an abandoned project titled The Ogden Shops.
Self-published. This chapbook collects a suite of poems written while in South Korea.
Revised Notes (2000)
Self-published. This chapbook collects poems written for Nicole Markotić’s 1999-2000 creative writing class.